Medway sort of turned the blog topic back in on itself by asking what is writer's block. He wasn't sure how to tell the difference between a genuine lack of inspiration and just being a bit of a lazy knob. I guess the difference is sweating blood. Those of you who've done any kind of academic writing will recognize the signs of laziness. You have an assignment or an essay due and all of a sudden daytime television becomes immeasurably more fascinating than it was just last week, the apartment needs cleaning, your toenails need clipping, anything, please God anything other than sitting down and actually doing the work you've been assigned. That's procrastination. When you do it on purpose with the full knowledge of what you doing, it's laziness.
Writers block is something different. It's when you desperately want to write, and you don't get distracted you don't watch TV you don't put on music you don't fuck around on the net you don't restump the house -- you just sit staring at the screen sweating bullets of blood from your forehead because Nothing Is Coming. Well, sorry, that's wrong: one thing is coming. Your fucking deadline. It's rushing towards you like a black tsunami of doom and the terrible world ending roar of it is making your inability to think of anything worth writing all the worse, like some sort of evil feedback loop.
Hope that clears a few things up, Medders.
Kieran asked whether I try and get around occasional creative blockages by writing out of sequence, a suggestion his girlfriend made to him. Sometimes I do. One of the nice things about writing multithreaded narratives is that when one isn't working for you you can abandon it for a short time and pick up one of the other threads. It happens occasionally that a character or story arc will simply stop engaging us. Often the best way to deal with it is just to walk away for a short time. That's as true of any job as it is of writing. Sometimes you just need to step away from the desk even if it's only for a quick cigarette break. And of course if you're not intent of dying from lung cancer one way of stepping away from a story is to just work on another story. I thoroughly recommend this technique.
Since we're on the topic of writer's block, and there's weeks worth of other questions to answer, I might finish up with a few more suggestions for how to get around it.
Sometimes it helps if you change the point of view from which the scene is being narrated. You can do this even in a first-person POV story, even if your narrator is the only person in the scene. If it's just not working for you, try switching to a third person POV. If you have multiple characters in the scene switch to a minor character and try writing it from their point of view, or switch to an antagonist and do the same thing. You'll be surprised how often that frees up an imaginative logjam.
Sometimes you just need to rush the thing like a bull at a gate. This can be particularly so when writing nonfiction. You paint yourself into a corner, or at least convince yourself that's what you've done. If you just can't come up with a form of words to get your idea onto the screen in good order, step away from the screen. Grab a notepad and pen, walk out of the room, sit down somewhere else and work old school for just a few minutes. Ask yourself "what the fuck am I actually trying to say". Then without worrying about spelling and syntax, grammar, the ugliness of what you're writing or any of that shit, just write in longhand as quickly as you can every thought that comes into your mind about what ever topic you're writing about. Fill the page, take a minute or two to have a break, then go back to the computer with your scrawled, virtually unreadable page of notes, and type them up. Then spend the next 15 minutes turning them into readable paragraphs.
Finally, here's a little trick I use in the most desperate of straits. Take yourself off to the nearest bookshop and have a look at some of the worthless crap that has made it into publication, and tell yourself if losers like Birmingham can do it, so can I.