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Comment from the book world in July 2014

July 2014

The dreaded writer’s block

18 July 2014

‘It was terrifying. I thought: "That's it, I only have 12 books in me." I was so sufficiently ill with it that I had to go to a doctor. For six months I couldn't write and I didn't tell anyone. It wasn't that I didn't know what to write, it was that I couldn't get the damn thing out. In the end, I literally pulled myself down to the library, sat there and dragged it out word after word. I didn't plan it, I started on chapter one and just saw where it went.

I don't know why this one was so problematic. Prior to this, if someone talked about writer's block I wouldn't believe it. I thought it was more an excuse for authors who were feeling uninspired or lazy... When I read it back there were parts I don't even remember writing, I must have been in the zone.

I am nervous because I don't want to feel the way I felt in my last book... I remember being sat at my table thinking I was going to throw up. When I couldn't write for six months I thought: "What am I going to do? All I can do is write and now I can't do it anymore." However at the moment I am toying between two books, which one to do first. I often get struck by a thought which will turn into: "Bingo - there is a book!"

Freya North, author of 13 novels, most recently The Way Back Home, in the Bookseller


'It's very hard to spend most of your adult life feeling like a failure.'

14 July 2014

‘I think they (the judges) were excited by the language and by the emotional impact of the story. They must have been looking for something different because certainly the book isn't written in a conventional way...

Being a writer who was not published for nearly ten years isn't a great path. It's very hard to spend most of your adult life feeling like a failure...

(Mainstream publishers) seem to think readers are passive, and that being a reader is the same as being a TV viewer, but it isn't. The constant regurgitation - "This was successful so let's have a bit more of it - has a very deadening effect on literature.'


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