It’s my pleasure to showcase the work of the wonderful, Georgia Hill today. She has written a really interesting and informative post for us all, about writer’s block. When Georgia is trying to avoid writing, she likes to walk her dogs on the beach, enjoys a pint of cider in her local and is obsessed by Strictly Come Dancing. She’s also a complete museum geek and loves folklore, history, and a really spooky story.
Hi everyone. Huge thanks to Lizzie for having me on!
I was going to blog about the new book, but the publication date has been pushed forward to next spring. I thought, instead, I’d share what a difficult journey this one had to the page. It’s quite possibly the first time I’ve experienced writer’s block and I hope it’s the last!
The last book published was an idea I’d had knocking around for ages. Inspired by a man modelling jumpers in a John Lewis ad (inspiration strikes in the strangest of places) and how it felt standing under three chestnut trees which grew opposite my childhood home. I’ve an appalling memory but can distinctly recall standing beneath these mighty trees, looking up and listening to the wind rustle through. Add in a dash of Doris Day, old movies and gardening, and Janey Trelawney’s Year of Surprising Triumphs was born. It’s a Calamity Jane update and for research I re-watched the film. I soon realised modern readers wouldn’t accept how Wild Bill treated Calamity Jane, so I took elements from the film and had great fun referencing them in some plot elements and names. Keen fans will spot them but the book itself developed its own life very quickly. It was a dream to write, it simply fell onto the page, possibly because there’s a lot of me in Janey. I also love writing a villain and this book has a corker!
I wish I could say the same about the book I’ve just finished. But no. Much to the amusement of my Zoom writing pals who have ‘lived’ with me trying to write it, the new book has, quite frankly (and look away if you’re of a delicate constitution) been a complete bugger to write. So much so, the working title is The Buggery Book That Refuses to be Written. It’s set in Berecombe, my favourite fictional seaside town, features characters which have appeared in other Berecombe books and is a romance. It should have been straightforward.
Except it wasn’t.
It’s been one of those books I’ve had to force myself, with gritted teeth, to plonk down in front of the computer and tear the words from my bleeding soul. I’ve no idea why it’s been so difficult to write. I love the idea. I love the characters.
What’s been the problem? Lockdown certainly had an effect. So much empty time. So much worry! Eventually I started writing again. Having a deadline focused the mind and I’ve just sent it off to my editor. But honestly, words grudgingly trickled out, with me wondering if I can do this writing malarkey anymore.
I’m not sure if what I’ve experienced is writer’s block, or whether some books are just trickier to write than others! Either way, the struggle was real. So, what did I do to try to get writing again?
- I chose a different place to write. It was refreshing to write with a new view.
- I used something different with which to write. I went back to the laptop and sat on the bed for a few days (see above). You could try using pen and paper, a different font on the computer, anything which re-stimulates the writing muscles and breaks the negative associations surrounding your usual method.
- I forced myself to write something, I’ve always found that, as I write, more ideas flow and knotty plot problems unknot. Writing really is a muscle, you have to keep doing it to keep on doing it.
- Related to the previous point, I started writing something else – but beware, this can be procrastination by creation and the new shiny project can seem ever more alluring.
- I forced myself to switch off from worrying about not writing. A long bath or a dog walk in the fresh air always provides good thinking time.
- I made sure my writing space was comfortable and remembered to drink lots of water. Set a timer if you need to, to get up and stretch and pour a drink. Sometimes though, the only thing that worked was chocolate. 500 words = 1 Malteser. Or Revel. Or chocolate digestive!
- I switched off social media.
- When things got really desperate, I took a break and read some good books. Writing doesn’t often leave much reading time and it was a great way to rejuvenate the writing juices. Every writer needs to read widely and often.
- I reminded myself to not underestimate how hard it can be to write a book, even and maybe especially one, which is considered easy reading.
- I leaned on my support network of trusted confidantes. Only other writers appreciate and understand the struggle and can offer useful advice.
- I didn’t give up!
If you’re struggling with writer’s block, try all or some of the above and see if it works. I really hope it does. And, if you have any tips which have helped you break your writer’s block, let me know. Wish me luck with the editing on this one. I hope Buggery has a more acceptable title when it comes out next spring!
Blurb for Janey Trelawney:
Janey’s life becomes more disaster movie than romcom when the ruthless Becca steams in to manage Cheney House. Her job as head gardener in peril and her self-confidence in tatters, Janey must fight back. Finding an ally in Will, who’s more Clark Kent than Superman, it’s up to them to save the day while owner Clare is away having her Shirley Valentine moment. It doesn’t help that everyone is in love with the wrong people!
Georgia Hill writes warm-hearted and up-lifting contemporary and timeslip romances about love, the power and joy in being an eccentric oldie and finding yourself and your community. There’s always a dog. It’s usually a naughty spaniel of which, unfortunately, she has had much experience. Her books are firmly rooted in small seaside towns similar to the one she lives in, and she loves history especially when it insists on rearing up and battering at the present.
As a child she had an invisible friend called Gonky who lived on the third stair from the bottom. As an adult her invisible friends inhabit her head and refuse to leave until she commits them to paper. Readers of her books can escape into a cosy world of words and, no matter what challenges her characters face they will, ultimately, have a happy ending.
Website: http://www.georgiahill.co.ukBe the first to know when my next book is available! Follow me on social media for updates.