Philip Pulman doesn’t believe in writer’s block.
Neither do I.
I do confess to rare days when I go flop-bot (thanks to James Herriot for the description), when my desire to write totally deserts me. But hell! I am a pro! I shrug it off and get stuck in! Mostly, this works. I suppose can’t resist my own stories.
But there are times when I fail to be ignited by the flame of my own creativity, and so I give up. Writing with flop-bot always produces total rubbish that will be discarded the following day, and so I do something else instead, but not housework. You may be interested to know that housework is never the answer. It’s altogether too depressing. But craft is different. Usually my workbench is littered with partly completed stained-glass, pottery or patchwork projects and I return to one of these. While my fingers work, my soul is gently reignited and I my old passion returns.
More often I simply get stuck. My characters might be in a situation that needs resolving or might need to move from one location to another and I don’t know how. The dogs are usually the answer here. They don’t have insight, or if they do they don’t communicate it to me, but they do take me for walks across the hills.
I live in one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in Britain along the Welsh/English border. I am surrounded by lush fields, hedges and hills all demanding my presence, and the dogs are always more than happy to oblige. They take me walkies. On one occasion it took eighteen months to solve my literary problem (that was one hell of a long metaphorical walk!), but it isn’t usually so dramatic. Sometimes we need go no further than the top of the drive, a brief 400 yards each way, and sometimes it takes several miles. We return with my problem solved and a spring in my step.
Philip Pullman doesn’t believe in writer’s block.
I wonder what he calls it?
If you look slightly to the right of centre, you will see the chimneys on our house. As I said, we live in the middle of nowhere.