Contrary to popular belief, those things called ‘writer’s block’ do not
just go away like a hangover writes Durre Mughal
You want to write, but words do not come out as sophisticated as they were in
your head. You spend ten minutes reworking that sentence but then are unable
to think of the next one. That book seems like good inspiration, maybe you will
go read that and come back to this terrifying piece of paper later, when you have
That scenario is all too familiar. Just like everything else we weigh out writing
in terms of good and bad, and we do this unforgivingly from the minute we have
written our first sentence, which really is inadequate compared to a thousand
words of a story. Until there is something written, there will not be anything to
compare your ‘good’ and ‘bad’ writing to and so all your writing will seem bad to
you and there will be no progress. Instead, what you will always be comparing
it to are the works of published writers without thinking about their secretly
hidden notebooks full of scribbles and ‘bad writing’. Don’t be your own judge!
Open a blog, talk to fellow writer friends, go to workshops and get feedback.
Contrary to popular belief, those things called ‘writer’s block’ do not just go away
like a hangover if you drink water and sleep all day. The ice needs to be chiselled
down and melted. I remember writing my very first prose piece. It was a very
short descriptive piece in following a girl walk from one room to the next, but I
was fascinated with how much I could bring out in such a short time. At the time
I was thinking of how prose isn’t really my thing but that changed completely!
I think it is important to keep every little piece of writing that you do like a
map. It is equally important to dabble in everything. When I get stuck, reading
books like Writing Fiction by Linda Anderson and Derek Neale (2009) offer a
lot of help. It is one of those books you will probably come across when doing a
Creative Writing degree that you hide away after your first year (it is a defensive
instinct really). The book actually talks you through the process of writing and
different aspects that seem like common sense to us young writers yet at the
time we forget about them. We know we have to develop our character but
only as a mantra. Most of us never spend the full time intricately mapping and
brainstorming and getting to know them. The book has little activities that have
different focuses – from description to setting. This helps you focus on each
Last but not least, writing takes time. Don’t expect to contemplate scenarios in
your mind and have a beautifully written story on a piece of paper in one hour.
Discipline yourself and set aside enough time to write. But remember to have
a balance also; don’t push yourself, but don’t give up instantly. It is easy to feel
dejected and think ‘who am I kidding? I’ll never be as great as (insert inspiring
author here)’. Yet what we forget as young writers is that those writers have
years on us. When you have enough material written, there will always be a
competition or an opportunity around. Many will knock you back, but the more
you put yourself there the more opportunities you are creating for yourself!
Durre Mughal is a young writer based at Cardiff Metropolitan University.