Way back in 2001 my Ban Chéile gave me a present of a little book by Joan Rekulak called The Writer’s Block. The blurb on the cover announced ” 786 Ideas to Jump-start Your Imagination”. Now I wasn’t sure if she was dropping a hint or lending me a helping hand, but either way that little book has been good company ever since.

The idea is you can either work your way from cover to cover using each item on each page as a stimulus for your writing or you can randomly flick open a page and Viola!, inspiration guaranteed. Some of the things you will be treated to might be an image or a word or a downright challenge with directions to follow. Such as: “Visit a nearby cemetery – the older the better. Sit down beside the most unusual tombstone you can find, and write about the person lying underneath you” or a picture of a bathroom scales and the word “diet”. The thinking behind the book is simple but effective – the blank page is the writer’s worst enemy – and to get past that all we need is a topic to write about.

These days I tend to think of my little book of inspiration as the precursor to all those challenges you see on Instagram and blogsites such as this one, urging people to take photos of random subjects or write a post by following a list of suggestions. In fact it might just inspire me to come up with a new challenge for 2014.

My Writer’s Block has stood me in good stead and will continue to do so for a long time to come. Who would have thought what amounted to a Christmas stocking filler would give such lasting pleasure. How do you cope with writer’s block?

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