One of the questions I'm most often asked about writing is a simple but very important one - and happily, for once in life, I think there's an easy answer.
The question is - How do I find inspiration on those days when it's just not coming?
After a few seconds of reassurances that we all have those days - I think they go with the creative territory - I can usually provide a passable response.
It's a long and hard learned lesson, and it's this - when the words really are not coming, just walk away and do something else for a while.
In my experience, sitting staring furiously at a screen, or piece of paper, getting more and more frustrated, is a sure way to ensure that creativity won't come calling.
And not just that - if you're really desperately chasing her, the elusive and teasing muse is quite likely to hide somewhere on the edge of your mind, with her tongue out, calling na, na, na, na, naa.
The solution, in my view, is a change of scene. Get out, go somewhere, do something to take your mind off your problem and the solution will come.
A quick visual interlude - you've heard me go on plenty of times about the River Exe being one of my great escapes and inspirations, and as it's nesting time...
Even me, a cynical and hardened hack and crime writer, with a pile of cold black ash where a heart used to be, can't help but be moved by a sight like that. And such a lift sure can help on the darker days.
I was talking to a couple of writer friends this week, and both, entirely independently, were saying how they needed a change of scene to help them. One would work at home for a while, then pop into town to stroll around, then write some more at the library.
The other (and this gets my vote!) would sometimes shift from cafe to cafe or bar to bar, for drinks and snacks at a variety of locations.
But we shared the same discovery - shake up your surroundings, take a break from the keyboard, and you're far more likely to encourage inspiration to come.