Only a few days ago I was telling some friends that writer's block is a myth. It seems to be a standard narrative device used in movies, where the 'great' writer has produced that incredible combination of a popular, critically well-received blockbuster, and now can't bring themselves to write again. Enter the hero/heroine/muse, to unstick our frozen writer and provide them the inspiration they need to move on. While there are a handful of well known authors that only produced one (or two) major works of literature, it seems to me that for most writers the ideas flow very naturally, and the challenges lie elsewhere. Speaking personally, I have at a least a dozen ideas for a short story (or novel) and what I find hard is getting the time to actually work on them. Sure, there are plenty of other issues when you start writing - things never go as planned, those characters seem to have a life of their own, and they just won't stick to the meticulously planned narrative structure you had laid out for them. I have experienced writer's block during a (failed) novel, where I just didn't know what to do with the slippery characters next, after they had run themselves into a plot hole. The best solution I have found is to take a long walk, let the subconscious mind work on the problem, and then begin writing, and let the characters find their own way out of the hole (they were the ones that made the issue in the first place, it seems only fair to let them figure it out).

While I understand the value of using writer's block as a narrative device, I wonder if it is stereotyping writers? Shouldn't we be campaigning to be represented better in the media, to display the range of backgrounds and attitudes that we bring to the table? The male writers I know are not all hard-drinking, hunting, warriors of the Ernest Hemmingway mould. I wonder how female writers feel about being put into a category; Bridget Jones types, or J K Rowlings. Who keeps doing this to us? Well, of course, the answer is other writers. Hmm, I feel a Catch-22 situation developing here. If you are reading this, and you are a writer, please remember to treat 'us' kindly in your next piece. No more writer's block. I can see you sitting there, about to start that screenplay, where you have an author as a major character, but if they aren't a stereotype what are they... oh no, you don't know what to write! It sounds like a case of writer's block :)

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