Subscribe to Subscribe to's comments

You’ll find that most writers have an opinion about what is the root cause of writer’s block.   Some insist that there’s no such thing, an opinion that’s especially believable if  you’ve never actually experienced it yourself.  It’s worth thinking about – is writer’s block real or just a figment you’ve invented to explain your lack of productivity.

So whether it exists or not, all of us probably have experienced something pretty similar so how do overcome writer’s block?  Well it’s important to keep your lack of writing in proportion, don’t make too much of a big deal about it.  The reality is that people generally don’t have a problem writing something but more with writing something worth reading.  If your over criticial of your efforts you’ll find it difficult to write under any circumstances.

If you do tend to be critical try having a different persepective on your writing.  Instead of an art form think perhaps as a job, a task to complete.  After all if you’re a writer that’s all it is – putting down some words onto a page.  Writing is a task just like any other, try and keep that in perspective.

It’s important to keep to deadlines and of course to set them in the first place.  However if you are struggling to put down those words then forcing yourself ain’t gonna help.  Try and do something else, my favorite light relief is to fire up my laptop and watch something from the BBC Iplayer library.  If you are outside the UK you may need the help of this page – How to use a UK Proxy to watch the BBC Iplayer.  The idea is to do something to take your mind off the writing.

For something a little less high brow but with some quality can I suggest Netflix, although it tends to have less of the really recent stuff, there’s lots of quality there. You do need to switch your account to the American version if possible though as it has most of the other versions and more –

On YouTube – American Netflix.
It’s also a good idea to have multiple projects in the go, so that if one gets hard going you can switch – this usually makes a big difference.

Millions of people across the world have learnt English themselves not from William Shakespeare or other English literary classic, but by listening to the BBC World Service.  If you’ve ever spoken to someone who has learnt directly like this you’ll often be amazed at the wonderful accent that is developed.  It’s certainly much more pleasing on the ear than those who have used the clipped tones of some Hollywood action hero.

In fact nowadays the BBC website has a huge treasure trove of resources for anyone wanting to learn English or more about English literature.   There’s lots of learning resources, educational sections and even bite size lessons for people trying to learn English for themselves.  All of this is free and accessible any time day or night.   It really is a wonderful free resource that anyone can use.  For instance there is a section which takes news stories from the main site and then breaks down the vocabulary used by the story.  Here’s an example of a story about the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin –  It’s great practice for brushing up on your vocabulary and seeing words used in a modern and real context.

Of course it can get a bit boring just learning language purely from lessons like this.  So here it’s an idea to get access to the content contained in the BBCs media player.  In fact using using BBC Iplayer abroad 2011 can be a little problematic.   For some reason the BBC have restricted the content to anyone accessing the site from outside the United Kingdom.  I for one think this a tremendous shame that the wonderful content that is contained on the BBC Web site is restricted like this.  I presume it’s to do with licensing arrangements but you would have thought that a public broadcaster like the BBC could look beyond such commercial requirements.  But all is not lost thanks to sites like this –

The above video shows that if you want to connect to the BBC IPlayer from outside  the UK then all you need to do is hide your IP address.  This is the number that is assigned to your computer when you connect to the internet.  It normally is the one assigned by your ISP which will of course be registered to the country you are connecting from.  However if you can find a proxy or VPN server to use that is based in the United Kingdom you can use this to connect from.  Then the BBC will think you are actually in the UK and you should be able to watch anything you like.  It’s actually very easy to do and doesn’t take any technical skill, in fact once you’ve started watching the show you can disconnect from the proxy server.