Having been paralysed by the bane of the scribe for several weeks, I’ve been amused (now that my words are flowing again) to learn how other writers deal – or dealt – with the problem.
Dryden, it is said, often had himself bled, while Bacon had to have the fumes of claret or freshly-turned earth nearby. Dame Edith Sitwell apparently found that lying in a coffin would do the trick. Victor Hugo’s answer was to order his servants to take away all his clothes, including those he was wearing, and make them agree not to bring them back until he had finished a chapter.
On a more current note, Philippa Gregory says that the answer is to frighten your subconscious mind into giving in. She packs tea and sandwiches, then tells herself she is going to walk – without stopping – until the problem is solved.
I find that a similar method works in that I have to intimidate myself (or is it my subconscious self?) with threats that – if I don’t get on with it and deliver the manuscript – I will end up having to get a regular job and becoming slave to a salary.
Perhaps I ought to be a bit kinder to myself and slit my wrists before undressing and lying naked in a mud-filled coffin with tea and sandwiches (oh, and a glass of claret)…