Stephen King used to set himself a quota of 2000 words a day. That’s probably why he’s a hugely prolific author. Not just in the success he has had as a writer, but the sheer amount he has put out. That includes work written under pseudonyms as well. But it also requires an idea to write about, to expand on. And that can be a real struggle. You’ve probably heard of the phenomenon known as ‘writer’s block’. When the writer meets a clog in their system that they can’t seem to get around, no matter what they do to try and get round it. It’s a frustrating state to be in. And I know that state, because I’m feeling a bit of it right now, writing this blog post. I try and publish a new post here on this site at least once a week. That wasn’t the case when I started. I could go a month and a half between posting. However, since the turn of the year I wanted to actually make this blog/website/whatever the hell you want to call it into something more than an occasional dumping ground for whatever I had lying around. And so, I wrote more often. And if that results in a blog about me struggling to write a blog, then well lookie here we came full circle didn’t we?
When I’m scrawling through YouTube for videos to entertain myself for five minutes with, the videos sometimes have ads attached from an education platform called MasterClass. They have online courses in seemingly everything from playing electric guitar to producing dance music to writing screenplays and novels to how to act. These courses are all fronted by world famous experts like Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine, Samuel L Jackson, Hans Zimmer, Neil Gaiman, Timbaland and Dustin Hoffman. The screenwriter’s MasterClass is done by Aaron Sorkin, who wrote screenplays for The Social Network, A Few Good Men, Moneyball, Steve Jobs and The West Wing.
The reason I’ve bothered to go into this much detail over such an inane topic is because of something he said in the ad focusing on his course. What he said was; ‘I’m in a constant state of writer’s block. That is my default position.’ And to be honest, what I took from that was comfort. An Oscar nominated screenwriter had felt the same way I sometimes do when writing an internet blog. And that proves a couple of things to me. One; struggling with any form of writing, be it journalistic, non fiction or fiction, is not uncommon. In fact, it’s more common to be stuck on an idea and have to struggle with it for a while to work it through and get it moving forward and into some sort of shape that you are happy with. And two; to get past your block, and this could apply to most things in life and not just writing, you have to continue to work at it and try different things to get it to work. So ultimately, whatever your idea might be, keeping going and keep working at it. Because in time, you will get something that you can be proud of.