A question for Juliet Kemp

Q: What happens when you hit writer’s block head on?

A: If I hit writer’s block, it’s usually a sign that there is some problem with scene, plot, characters, or all of the above. My immediate response, which I try to ignore, is to go and mess around on the internet. This is rarely helpful. To solve the problem rather than avoiding it, some level of thinking is required, worse luck. I sometimes sit down with marker pens (I have Copics, which are a tremendous indulgence but I do love them) and a colouring book and try to let my brain freewheel. Going climbing is good, too. Both colouring and climbing work well for occupying my monkey brain (the bit that just wants to hit refresh on Twitter) and letting the slower-thinking creative parts ruminate for a while. If I had a different sort of dog, walking the dog might work. Unfortunately if I stop paying attention to my dog, she considers this to be a reason to ignore me in turn, takes off after the nearest squirrel, and refuses to return. This experience does not generate anything useful at all brainwise, though all the running backwards and forwards is probably good cardio.

Lying down and staring at the ceiling can be surprisingly helpful, although sometimes it leads to napping. But then, napping isn’t always bad — once in a while I dream a solution to a story problem, which is exceptionally satisfying when it happens.

And, most importantly, all of the above work better when I add both chocolate and tea, in large quantities.


Juliet Kemp’s story “Scraps” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 7 April 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

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