So who's going to blame your kids, your significant other, your family and friends from assuming that indulgent expression one adopts when dealing with deranged people when you say you've got to go and write; from vacuuming round your feet when you're wrestling with your inciting incident; from insisting you consider the shopping list while that fragile, once-in-a-lifetime bestselling idea eludes you and drops to the ground, crushed under the jackboots of your domestic demands.
Point is, you're doing this alone. No-one is going to help you. It's just you, and me.
So here's what to do when those situations arise that no-one but a writer could understand.
When technology fails you
Ever seen Terminator? If the technology isn't against you now, it will be. I couldn't tell you the amount of times I've been forced off the desktop computer by other family members with more legitimate claims, firing up my laptop only to find it needs to take 2 hours to download emails, 4 hours to update the operating system, and when I've finally managed to get it to synchronise with the writing files I've been working on elsewhere the thing needs to re-boot itself, by which time I've only got two hours left to sleep before I need to leave for the day job. Happy times. Solution? Unplug the evil thing and get the notebook out. Technology 0 – Writer 1.
When inspiration fails you
Stop working on what your supposed to be working on and write something else. Brainstorm the idea, drill down to the issue that's holding you up. There's no such thing as writers block, just lack of research – you can't write because you don't know your story or characters well enough – learn it or invent it. Write down the question that is at the heart of the issue, then write the answer.
When imagination fails you
Imagination is a muscle and if it isn't flexed, will wither and die. I've talked before about the reservoir of ideas available to a writer, you can stir these up by reading, research, listening to music or other means. As a writer you should be training your imagination all the time. Never block ideas, never rule them out, no matter how mundane or boring – if you allow them time to develop or work them hard enough, they could just give you enough for a whole novel.
When words fail you
Believe it or not, writing isn't just about words – they're just a means to the character and the story. Sure they can be stylish and poetic, but that's just icing on the cake. You can take pictures, draw diagrams, act out roles, try out accents, deal out cards, block a scene – all ways of working characters and stories without using words.
When you fail you
Sometimes you're so exhausted, so devoid of invention, so sick to death of it all, that you'd rather lie down and die than write.
Guess what? Sometimes it's ok to go and do something else. You are allowed a life.
Besides, it will give you something to write about.