Sherlock Holmes

Blocked writers are often surprised when I don’t immediately ask to see examples of their work, in order to ascertain what is wrong, and what needs solving. My approach to bringing writers from block to flow, begins with the body. The body gives me all the clues I need. One of my heroes in this respect is Conan Doyle’s inspired detective, Mr. Sherlock Holmes.  He is a master of observation. In the story The Adventure of The Stockbroker’s Clerk: -

‘I had never looked upon a face that had such marks of grief…of a horror, such as comes to few men in a lifetime. His brow glistened with perspiration. His cheeks were the dull, dead white of a fish’s belly and his eyes were wild and staring…He looked at his clerk as though he failed to recognise him.’

This is a vividly described, and extreme example of a human being in shock, paralysed, ceased up, blocked. Block is a continuum, and this is an extreme presentation of it. But wherever the writer is on that continuum, that is where the work begins.

Read the story at:


The Weekly Prompt

As you write, chart your physical responses to what your imagination throws up. When there is fear or excitement, you’ll become activated. You’ll probably notice that your heart speeds up, colour drains from your face, there is a tingling in your limbs. As the fear or excitement recedes, your heart will slow, colour will return to your face, your limbs will be cooler. Try not to always write from a place of activation. Too much unrelieved activation can lead to block.  The cycle of speeding up and then slowing down is important for sustaining your writing energy. 

First published December 5th 2013