In the UK this week, a senior politician made some derogatory comments about breastfeeding in public after an incident at Claridge’s, protesters outside an abortion clinic got lambasted by a heavily pregnant passer-by and the debate about a convicted rapist that’s trying to return to football after leaving prison raged on. This is not a political blog, so why am I mentioning contentious issues? Because these are a great way of getting out of a writing rut.
Everyone has a pressure point. What’s yours? Flip through the opinion pages of a magazine or newspaper that represents views you disagree with or read someone that holds very different ideas. Very religious? Try Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris. An atheist? Try Karen Armstrong. I’ll spare you an endless list, but I trust you get the idea.
Angry yet? Disgusted? Disappointed? Upset? Good – channel it. Write about what matters to you and incorporate it in your scene, story, book or theme. Make others share your concerns, emotions and fears.
You don’t need to end up writing a polemic: You can read Jack Kerouac, Hunter S Thompson or Alan Hollinghurst and reach very different conclusions from another reader. But they wrote about what mattered to them. Do the same. Just don’t sit on the fence.