I came across the following quote by Mark Guiness and it’s wisdom repeated back at me especially now that term time has started and I need to plan my classes but am feeling stuck.
Novelist Vikram Seth once found himself blocked after writing the first hundred pages of a story set in post Independence India. In spite of his best efforts to move the story forward, it stubbornly resisted until one day he realised he had overlooked the real problem. he simply didn’t know enough about the period.
Once he understood this, Seth switched from writing to research, reading old newspapers, visiting key places, and interviewing people who had lived through the erase. This gave him so much material that his planned short novel grew into a 1,500 page doorstop. (I bought the book too). The Suitable Boy landed him a rumoured $1.1 million advance and established him as a literary superstar.
The story is encouraging as it shows that the solution can be surprisingly straightforward once you understand the problem correctly.
Sometimes the issue could be inspiration drought, sometimes personal problems. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not on fire creatively every day -give yourself credit for showing up for work and make even a small amount of progress.
I’m thinking of doing my PhD but felt stuck not knowing what topic to research on. Read more. My lunch friend advised. Maybe I’ll do just that.