Dirty the paper

Image shows from L to R: Denis Norden, Frank Muir. Copyright: BBC

It's possible you haven't heard of the American comedian Fred Allen. He had a motto when it came to comedy writing:

"Dirty the paper."

This meant write something - anything! - to jump start the creative process and get over the intimidation of the blank page.

As the old-skool comedy writing duo Frank Muir and Denis Norden, who took the maxim to heart, explained,

"Once you've dirtied it - you're in charge."

It is wise advice, as pertinent now as 75 years ago.

Sometimes what we fear is writer's block is better described as a particularly tricksy, self-sabotaging form...

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Published: Monday 10th June 2024