CULTURE & ARTS
11/10/2015 01:45 pm ET

What Neil Gaiman Does When He Doesn't Know What To Write

Step one: Don't call it writer's block.

Every writer has been there: Staring down a blank page, struggling to write anything that feels right, cursing writer's block for impeding progress. But according to author Neil Gaiman, writer's block does not exist.

"I don't really believe in writer's block, but I absolutely believe in getting stuck," Gaiman told HuffPost Live on Monday. "The difference is one is imposed on you by the gods, and one is your own damn fault."

When Gaiman dropped by HuffPost Live to discuss his latest work, The Sandman: Overture, he explained the inherent falsehood in blaming writer's block when you're feeling uninspired.

"If you turn around and go, 'I am blocked,' this is just something writers say because we're really clever. It sounds like it has nothing to do with you: 'I would love to write today, but I am blocked. The gods have done it to me,'" he said. "And it's not true. Cellists don't have cellist block. Gardeners don't have gardener's block. TV hosts do not have have TV host block. But writers have claimed all the blocks, and we think it's a real thing."

But Gaiman said he is quite familiar with feeling stuck, and he shared his strategy for getting through it.

Anytime a writer is stuck, he explained, there are "dozens of things that could have gone wrong." It could be a wrong choice in an earlier chapter, or perhaps the story needs to dive deeper before it can move ahead. Gaiman's solution is to always keep a separate project on the back burner that can give him a break from the material troubling him.

"I always like to have another story, another introduction, another work, and I'll just go and work on that, while somewhere in the back of my mind I'm churning over why I'm stuck and what went wrong and figuring out how to go forward," he said.

Watch Gaiman share his tips in the video above, and click here for his full HuffPost Live conversation.

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