Friday Feature: Writer’s block or Blank Page Syndrome

The most frustrating object for a writer is, unfortunately, also the essential object required to write, the blank page. Every writer has
experienced that moment when, after finally managing to take some time out of your
busy schedule, you sit down with a nice cup of tea, a few cheeky biscuits and
…nothing. Nothing. NOTHING!

nothing. Nothing. NOTHING!NothingnoTHING NOThing NOT A THING nothing No-THINg NothinG nothing nothING.

After a while writing about how you simply CANNOT write begins to get rather boring….

So, here is a collection of tips and tricks from myself and other YSJ writers to get the ideas streaming and your inspiration flowing:

1.Keep a journal to write down all your ideas for projects. It doesn’t have to be special, use a diary, a pad of paper, or just your laptop. Personally I use all the different forms or I get bored. It will stop you forgetting ideas and you might come back to them later finding that they trigger some inspiration. Aim to write something in it every day.

2.Use Creative writing prompts. This blog has a new prompt up every Monday, use them to access your imagination, allow yourself to experiment and have fun!

3. Don’t feel your work has to be amazing all the time. Sometimes you will end up with a load of rubbish…it happens. To me, it happens, A LOT! Don’t worry, persevere, keep writing and eventually the dry spell will end.

4.Listen to Music. Do this while you are writing and reflect on how it changes the final outcome.

5. Freewrite. Freewriting is an exercise in which you write whatever pops into your head. Do not edit or erase anything, just write continuously for a certain amount of time. It is difficult, but some of my best ideas have come out through a freewrite.

6. STOP MAKING EXCUSES. I am the biggest procrastinator in the world when it comes to writing. I will do my washing and ironing and clean the kitchen before even sitting down to write (I end up with a very tidy house), but it is the most unhelpful thing you can possibly do. By avoiding writing the task becomes bigger. You feel guilty. You avoid it again. You feel guilty and before you know it you can’t even look at a page without wanting to stick you head under the covers and hibernate through university life. I have tried this method… unfortunately the time comes when you have to poke your head out and leave behind your shell, even if that means coming up with a REALLY bad metaphorical imagery…

7. Observe: listen to conversations around you, watch and read the news, make notes on your surroundings, and most importantly LIVE. Go to places you haven’t been before and get yourself out there. Writing is an active not a passive process, your life should be too.

8. Get into a group. The Creative Writing Society is advertised below, or just get involved with your friends. Write for each other, or set goals. Meet up in the SU over a beer or, if you are not ready to share your work with the world just yet, set up a blog where strangers can read your work.

9. Research: Google is AMAZING! If you are interested in something, follow the theme and see if you follow it to an idea. If not at least you’ve learnt something new!

10. Read. If you’re stuck for ideas read a novel, a magazine article, poetry or even the news can be your opening into inspirational muse. Why not to replicate the tone in what you’re reading?

TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE: Writing is all about practice. Why not try going through the list above and doing one point every day, even if it’s ten minutes in the library or on your work break. For added incentive, promise yourself a drink at the end of the ten days…or maybe even more than one…

Upcoming events at York Literature Festival

York Literature Festival Events taking place tomorrow.
(Monday 24th March

Recovering Lost Voices: Writing Historical Fiction with Sophie Coulombeau
King’s Manor: Room KG33
9.30am – 4.30pm

Burglar Bill by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
York Castle Museum
11.00am – 11.30am

Andrew Motion
St Peter’s School
7.00pm – 8.30pm

Narrative and Alternative Futures
York Theatre Royal
7.00pm – 9.00pm

York Theatre Royal
Mon 24 March – Sat 29 March 7.30pm with a 2.00pm (Thu) & 2.30pm (Sat) matinee


For more details click this link:

Narrative and Alternative Futures

Narrative and Alternative Futures

Date:    Monday 24th March
Time:    7.00pm – 9.00pm
Venue: York Theatre Royal, St Leonard’s Place, York YO17 7HD
Cost/Booking Info: FREE, please book at York Theatre Royal 01904 623568 or online:
Through narrative we can imagine how the future might be, we can dream of shiny bright possibilities or project into dark dystopian horrors. Through narrative we can transport ourselves forward and consider what the consequences of our actions now might be for our descendants yet to come.
This event will bring together voices from the arts, literature and social sciences to consider the role of narrative in thinking, imagining and potentially bringing into being a range of alternative futures.

Speakers for this event will include Professor Andy Miah (Director, Creative Futures Institute, University of the West of Scotland), Dr Liesl King (Head of English Literature, YSJU), Dr Abi Curtis (Head of Creative Writing, YSJU).

Storytelling in Court and Cloister: One Day conference

Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York with support from the Centre for Medieval Literature

2nd November, 2013, 10am – 6pm  in the Huntingdon Room, Kings Manor, York

Speakers: Anthony Bale (Birkbeck), Ross Balzaretti (Nottingham), Bronach Kane (Cardiff), Henrietta Leyser (Oxford), Christopher Norton (York), Tom Pickles (Chester), David Rundle (Essex), Elisabeth van Houts (Cambridge)

This interdisciplinary conference will explore ways in which medieval people used stories to make sense of their world. Literature scholars offer models for thinking about questions of fiction and narrative within written stories, in imagined or recounted tales, romance and history. This interdisciplinary conference will draw on this rich field, to think about storytelling within and beyond the page, by exploring the act of telling stories in a social context.

Registration: £30 (full); £20 (students/unwaged). There is a £10 reduction for members of the Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literatures.

To register: contact Enquiries: