A Note on Writer’s & Reader’s Block

Inspiration has been a hard match to strike this week. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’m working on a slightly different (and secret!) project at the moment and I’m pumped for that, but when it comes to reading and writing, my usual motivations have simmered. So true to form, I thought I’d write about it (does that mean I’m over it already?!) Writer’s block is something I know all too well and I find mixing projects up helps a lot, but reader’s block is not something I’ve experienced before.

When it comes to reading I knew my 2018 reading goal of 65 books was going to be tough. So to try and counter disappointment at the end of the year, I thought that if I go super hard in the first couple of months of 2018 then I can take it easy for the rest of the year. I’ve succeeded with this plan, I’m writing this on February 23 and I’m on my 14th book of the year. But this ‘success’ has come at a price. I’m finding it a little hard to concentrate on what I’m reading. Last weekend I found myself not loving Ali Smith’s How to be Both, which surprised me because I loved Girl Meets Boy. I was worried that I would have liked it more if my mind was less on the deadline of how many books can I squeeze into February and more on the content, characters and writing of the book. I think I succeeded in rectifying the problem though: I followed How to be Both with Roald Dahl’s Matilda. I haven’t read it in years but a children’s book demands a little less brain power and offers a lot of entertainment. It shifted my brain back into the reading for pleasure zone. I’m now purposely making slow progress through Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth. However many books I read in March, I hope I stop competing with myself and just enjoy the brilliant books waiting for me on my TBR pile.

As far as writer’s block goes it’s been a mixed bag. Creatively, things are good – things are happening. I’ve been getting my novels out there to agents and feeling positive about what I’m submitting. I’m even working on a play, as promised. In fact, I’m even more inspired about it after having seen Fran Bushe’s one-woman show Ad Libido at Vault Festival last night, where I had this exact magical Gilmore moment:

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The problem this week has been with non-fiction and journalism. This poses a slight problem given that it’s my source of income. Last week an article I wrote about pubic hair was published on Repro Justice, you can read it here. I loved writing it and have thoroughly enjoyed the conversations I’ve had because of it, but ideas for the next article and/or blog are playing hard to get. That being said, if there are any blogs you’d like to see from me or reviews you’d like to read, please let me know!

Get in touch if your brain’s switched off in inconvenient places this week, then I won’t be alone in my frustration, and if you are facing a wall too, I can confirm that there is always a way around it, even if you have to tear it down with your bare hands. Anyway, I’m confident that my normal levels of reading, writing and loving both will be back soon. And don’t worry, if it doesn’t come back soon I’ll be sure to blame it on the pill.

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