So last week I went to the launch of P&O’s Britannia and I was very fortunate that at dinner our table included the fabulous Milly Johnson and her husband; Milly is the best-selling author of 10 novels with over 1 million sales worldwide, including Here Come the Girls, and she’s incredibly easy to talk to. So naturally I found myself telling her about my own novel writing ambitions.
As you know two years ago I joined the Romantic Novelists Association with the intention of finally finishing at least one of the novels I’ve been working on; but then something happened. I got terrible, awful writer’s block. Every time I sat down to try and write I just couldn’t make the words come out. It’s so ridiculous – I can write thousands of words as a journalist and blogger, every day of the week, but when it comes to actually finishing any of the novels I’ve started writing – well, I just haven’t been able to do it.
I talked it through with Milly and straight away she homed in on the fact that it’s my fear of failure getting in the way, because I’m known for a kind of writing in my day job so I’m putting pressure on myself to succeed at writing fiction. Her advice? “Write at least 25 words, every day, until you’ve broken through it.” So that’s what I’m doing at the moment – trying to write at least 25 words every day, and trying not to be over judgemental about what I’m writing, either. On Milly’s website she also has some advice about the The Pomodoro System, a timed system for writing, which I’m going to work towards this week.
I’m so glad I met Milly because she’s a real inspiration – I love that she’s so open and warm, and despite the fact that she’s so successful, totally down to earth. She has spurred me on to carry on trying and see how far I can get.
And if you have any tips for breaking through writer’s block, please do share them below.