Techniques that wont get you unstuck

Richard McKenna, author ofthe best-selling novel The Sand Pebbles and the equally wonderful essay on creativity "Journey With a Little Man," relates in that essay his discouragement midway through writing the novel. For a time, he says, he became convinced that the answer to getting unstuck was to divorce his wife and move to the desert, where he could write uninterrupted by the demands of domesticity. Eventually he came to his senses. He kept both his wife and his geographical location—North Car-olina—and finished the novel anyway.

Unless your external circumstances are very unusual, changing them won't cure writer's block. The way to get unstuck is not to shed your spouse, career, national citizenship or material possessions. Quitting your job will give you more time to write, but it won't make you write more, or better. Moving to Paris can be interesting, but it won't turn you into Hemingway. Whatever mires you in the middle of your story comes from inside, not outside, and that's where you'll have to deal with it.

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