Got an great idea for a new novel but can’t get started? When that happened to me recently I discovered a great way to break through the block.
I went on holiday.
After months of wrestling with the problems of structure, I decided I’d had enough. We were going away to Vietnam and Laos for two weeks and I wasn’t going to take my lap top, or notebook, or anything even remotely to do with writing.
At the last minute, however, I weakened and packed laptop, for purposes of emailing only, and notebook, because I can’t go anywhere without one, not even to the supermarket.
Am I glad I did.
After a night at the airport hotel, we checked to Terminal 4 at Heathrow. Mike had booked us in to a lounge and after a leisurely breakfast I sat back in my armchair to read the paper and look out of the window.
At this point I have to admit that I love airports. I love watching planes take off and land, I love the feeling of being suspended between the ordinary every day and the unknown. The rest of the world is out there, places I’ve never been to and might never visit. Watching fellow passengers, I wonder where and why they are travelling. What awaits them at the end of that journey.
As my mind wandered that Thursday morning, the ideas came flooding in and the new novel took shape. I saw and heard my, up to then elusive main character, gained insight into her motivation and behaviour. Grabbing my notebook and pen I began to write.
So, unblocking Tip #1. Walk away.
Tip #2 Sit in a departure lounge and people watch.
Tip #3 Have a full English breakfast.