The worst affliction for writers comes in many forms. Perhaps you’re stuck wondering if your readers will buy planet Earth being swallowed by an intergalactic donkey in a bad mood, just to give your hero the reason to fall in love with the heroine; maybe you need to show the boy and girl’s rising ardour but want to avoid heaving breasts and throbbing members. After some time, the blank white screen starts to mock you. But you take control. You’re a writer, dammit, and you will write. The first sentence creeps out from your fingertips, but wait: that’s not the verb you really mean. You check your computer’s thesaurus and see what it has to offer, but nothing seems to fit the tone, the phrase, so you ponder and think about recasting the sentence. It’s no good: 15 minutes of your writing time has escaped you and your word count for the day is five.
When you sit still to write your motor cortex gets bored very quickly, and recent scientific research has shown that the creative parts of our brain, which house our imagination, are stimulated by activity in the motor cortex (the bits of the brain that control physical movement).
The solution is to keep active, and the best way to do that is to have a family. No, really. Once you have children running around the place, you’ll never look at your writing time in quite the same way. The effect of their arrival is twofold: firstly, when you become a parent you [should] realise you’ve become immortal. In the normal scheme of things, they’ll survive you and your driving need to produce an opus that outlives you, lessens.
Secondly, the inordinate amount of attention they need/demand* (delete as applicable) keeps vast swathes of your brain very busy, which activity allows the other bits to quietly work out the answers to your story-telling problems, and usually let you know them when you least expect it.
To continue this analogy, imagine getting up at 6.00 am and not being able to visit the – a-hem – restroom for the next 16 hours? More to the point, imagine the relief when you finally do. You woke up with a knotty character, plot or dialogue problem, but the answer came to you while you were driving one of your darlings to playschool. Through the day you turned it over and refined it in your mind; at work, dealing with those problems, back at home, coping with the 50 things a parent has to manage. Then, when the house finally falls silent and the logistics have been handled, you sit down, switch on your computer and – ahhh; those 500 or 1,000 words slide from imagination to fingertips to the outside world and you feel satisfied for the first time since your day began.
So, have writer’s block? Then have kids!
Unless, however, after 16 hours on the go the first thing you do when you switch your computer on is check your social networks, send that email to a distant friend, and tell all your Twitter followers, “#amwriting”. But dealing with all of that, of course, is the subject of another post. Ω
DIMENSION RESEARCHER – Lucas Hunter has the best job in the universe: exploring and investigating alternative realities. From the first trip he realizes something is wrong. A strange American is chasing Lucas across the continuum; from Soviet Warsaw in 1944, to Muslim-dominated Europe in 1911, and on to Nazi-controlled England in 1967. Lucas soon understands that his superiors have betrayed him, and the world is on the brink of the first trans-dimensional war. Amazon
CLASS ACTION: A murder case, but the murderer is already behind bars. A new technology, which is ripping society apart. One man, on whom the fate of a continent will rest. Amazon
Chris James is originally from Hampton Hill near London, but now lives in Warsaw, Poland, with his wife and three children. Chris never suffers from Writer’s Block. Visit him at http://chrisjames.cal24.pl/