11.4.11

Word Count

or: How to Effectively Deal with Writer's Block

1. Read. As far and wide as you can. It doesn't matter if you're meaning to write about development policy since Independence, you can still be reading the children's books section on the Guardian. Or re-read an issue of Sandman. I find that this allows you to think in long, coherent, well-punctuated sentences. It also distracts you from the actual writing. Of course, this can only be detrimental if you have a deadline, so it goes without saying that if you have a deadline, read what you're meant to be reading.

2. Talk about it. By "it" I mean both the block and the actual piece of writing you're meaning to do. Everybody has an opinion (on both). Most of these opinions will never help. But at least you can be sure about what you don't want to write by the end of this exposition.

3. Stare. At an empty, white Word document. This does nothing to actually help, but it gives you a sense of impending doom which only pushes you to some more reading. (Or TV watching, but I shall maintain that TV watching does not help writer's blocks.)

4. Have an epiphany. These strike in the shower, or in the middle of reading something else, or while making an elaborate cheese sandwich, or in the middle of class while doodling something complex, multi-layered and made up of more than one kind of writing instrument and colour.

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