Top 5 cures for writer’s block + story updates

Last month I talked about the different ways I usually deal with writers’ block. Now comes the sequel article I promised, looking at some of the weirdest/funniest/most unique cures that other writers use.

First things first. Some updates on Million Eyes and the Million Eyes Short Stories. Also, I’m working on something new…

Million Eyes and the Million Eyes Short Stories — latest news

Just over 90 pages of Million Eyes have been fully proofed by all three of my proofers and corrected/tweaked by me. I’m waiting on one of my proofers to come back to me with the remainder so I can continue with corrections on the rest of it. I’ve also submitted it to a number of novel opening chapter competitions.

I posted on Sunday about the fact that Who is Rudolph Fentz? and Eryl Mai’s Dream, two of the Million Eyes Short Stories, are due for publication in Storgy and Dark Tales respectively. I don’t have a date for Dark Tales yet, but Storgy will be publishing Who is Rudolph Fentz? on August 23rd.

Apart from that, I’m waiting to hear about a bunch of other competitions and magazines that I’ve submitted stories to, and keeping everything crossed.

Something is brewing…

Funnily enough, I was complaining last month that I’d had writer’s block for years about what comes after the Million Eyes trilogy. I mentioned having a bunch of half-baked ideas for new novels, but none that were developed enough for me to be excited about them.

But Million Eyes is basically done. The first one, anyway. I’m not going to resume work on the second book (of which I have a full initial draft) until/if the first book is published and successful enough to justify me working on the second book.

That means I need something else. Getting past this block has become a necessity because I need to be writing, fiction I mean. Otherwise I’ll go mad. Fiction writing isn’t just a hobby I’m trying to make into a career. It’s something I have to do, just like eating and sleeping.

The next stage of the journey for Million Eyes is going to be as boring and mind-numbing as doing job applications. It’s where I send off Million Eyes to as many literary agents as I can find. I’ve done it before. It isn’t fun. The fun part’s over.

I. Need. Fun.

Enter my new novel. At last I’ve really, actually cracked it. I worked out that the reason I made Million Eyes work for me as a writer is that it had tons of ideas from tons of sources all amalgamated together into a complex plot that never lets up. Which means there was plenty of stuff to sink my teeth into, and I never got bored writing it.

I realised I needed to do the same thing with my new novel, and I’m pleased to say that it’s just as packed with stuff as Million Eyes was.

What’s it about? That’s what you really want to know. Well, so far I’ve written 7,000 words of concepts and plot/character outlines and only 1 page of the actual book, so I’m not willing to say too much just yet.

What I will say is that it’s a high fantasy novel (i.e. set in a world that isn’t Earth, a conscious decision on my part after the colossal amounts of historical research I had to do for Million Eyes). It’s not going to be your typical medieval, swords-and-sorcery, Game of Thrones-style universe, but will have elements of it. It’s also not going to be steampunk or contemporary, but again will have elements of both. And it will, like Million Eyes, be a conspiracy thriller (but of course!).

I’ll reveal more as it starts coming together…

Top 5 cures for writer’s block

Now these aren’t my top 5 cures. In my last article, I talked about the things I do to cure writer’s block. However, these are some of the most interesting cures I’ve found, so I might try a few of them next time I come down with a block…

5. Buy some gravity boots and hang upside-down

Also called inversion therapy. Dan Brown swears by it. He puts on gravity boots, then hangs upside-down from a special frame to help him relax. He says, “The more you do it, the more you let go. And then soon it’s just… wow.”

4. Catalogue some birds or watch a nature documentary

One writer suggested cataloguing birds or watching nature documentaries as a way of getting the brain firing on all cylinders. Basically because the beauty, majesty and utter weirdness of the natural world is inspiring.

3. Have sex — with as many people as you can

Sex helps release creative energy (hope my girlfriend’s reading this). Researchers have actually found that creative energy increases with the number of sexual partners a person has (er, if you are reading this, no I’m not proposing we do a spot of swinging).

Psychologists at the University of Newcastle found that professional artists and poets had twice as many sexual partners as less creative people. Their research also showed that the more partners they had, the more creative they became.

2. Watch Batman & Robin or listen to Rebecca Black’s Friday

Writer’s block often stems — consciously or unconsciously — from a lack of confidence in your work. Well, if that’s the case (and if you don’t know, assume it’s a possibility), watch 1997’s Batman & Robin. Writer Michael J. Nelson said, “Batman & Robin is not the worst movie ever. It’s the worst thing ever. Yes, it’s the single worst thing that we as human beings have ever produced in recorded history.”

He’s not far off. I saw this movie when I was 11 and thought it was bad then. Awful dialogue, ridiculous set pieces and costumes, hammy acting, and plot holes and continuity errors bigger than Batman’s codpiece (which is big). George Clooney is still apologising for the movie today.

So if you’ve lost faith in your writing for some reason, watching Batman & Robin could restore it — for the simple reason that what you’ve written just can’t be as bad as that.

And if you don’t have time to watch Arnold Schwarzenegger chew scenery or Chris O’Donnell shout “Cowabunga!”, listen to Rebecca Black’s song Friday. With lines like “Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal”, “Fun, fun, think about fun”, and “Tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday comes afterwards”, this is quite simply the worst-written song in living memory. Experiencing these lyrics should make you feel better about your own writing in a heartbeat.

1. Get someone to hide your clothes

I love this one. Getting someone to hide your clothes stops you from leaving the house, so you have to write. (Yes, okay, these days you’d probably need to hide a few other things as well, like the TV remote and your smartphone.)

It’s the old ‘forced to write’ cure for writer’s block, and a favourite of Victor Hugo’s. Writing when the great outdoors was the place to find fun, Hugo got his valet to hide his clothes so that he was forced to stay indoors and write. Nobody knows if he wrapped himself in a blanket or simply wrote naked.

Could be worth a try!

Next month: The blog is having a summer break. I’ll be back next month with more conspiracies, mysteries, urban legends and hopefully more news on Million Eyes. Have a good one folks!

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