Most people who have found themselves slowly growing desperate as the cursor gently flashes on an empty white screen, or crumpling yet another sheet of paper, blank but for a scrawl of doodles in a corner, are familiar with the phenomenon of writer's block. Throughout the years, professional writers have been asked about how they deal with the sensation of having nothing to say. Some give advice, some share their personal experiences, some offer only contempt. Whose side are you on?
"If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word."
“Put it aside for a few days, or longer, do other things, try not to think about it. Then sit down and read it (printouts are best I find, but that’s just me) as if you’ve never seen it before. Start at the beginning. Scribble on the manuscript as you go if you see anything you want to change. And often, when you get to the end you’ll be both enthusiastic about it and know what the next few words are. And you do it all one word at a time.”
“The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.”
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
“Writer’s block is only a failure of the ego.”
Alexander McCall Smith
“Writer’s block is a load of nonsense – I’ve always been a bit suspicious of it. It’s more likely to be a symptom of depression or maybe they’ve just got nothing interesting to say. Using your imagination to create a work of fiction involves exercising the mind and the more you do it, the more adept you become. I go to Botswana for a couple of weeks a year and I just open my eyes to the opportunities in everyday life. Most of my writing is what I have in the bank of memories I’ve accumulated.”
“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.”
"Writer’s block is a condition that affects amateurs and people who aren’t serious about writing. So is the opposite, namely inspiration, which amateurs are also very fond of. Putting it another way: a professional writer is someone who writes just as well when they’re not inspired as when they are.”