Writers Write is a comprehensive writing resource. In this post, we’ve shared a piece from English novelist, Philip Pullman On Writer’s Block.
Philip Pullman is an English novelist. He is the author of several best-selling books, most notably the fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials and the fictionalised biography of Jesus, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.
Many consider Pullman a worthy successor to J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, and C.S. Lewis, who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia.
Pullman has recently published Daemon Voices: Essays on Storytelling, where he explores his approach to writing.
Philip Pullman was born 19 October 1946.
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Philip Pullman On Writer’s Block
“Writer’s block…a lot of howling nonsense would be avoided if, in every sentence containing the word WRITER, that word was taken out and the word PLUMBER substituted; and the result examined for the sense it makes. Do plumbers get plumber’s block? What would you think of a plumber who used that as an excuse not to do any work that day?
The fact is that writing is hard work, and sometimes you don’t want to do it, and you can’t think of what to write next, and you’re fed up with the whole damn business. Do you think plumbers don’t feel like that about their work from time to time? Of course there will be days when the stuff is not flowing freely. What you do then is MAKE IT UP.
I like the reply of the composer Shostakovich to a student who complained that he couldn’t find a theme for his second movement. “Never mind the theme! Just write the movement!” he said. Writer’s block is a condition that affects amateurs and people who aren’t serious about writing. So is the opposite, namely inspiration, which amateurs are also very fond of. Putting it another way: a professional writer is someone who writes just as well when they’re not inspired as when they are.”
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