Welcome to another Collaboration Station! This week, we have the lovely Katie Watt from Drinking Tea Writing Blogs. Katie is an old friend of mine from University who is well known for her baking skills, surprising love of macabre fiction and her fabulous style sense. I wrote for her blog a little while back and now it’s her turn to scribble on my page. This cutie is awesome so please check out her blog or follow her on Twitter. Now, let’s get down to business!
Hello, my name is Katie, and I have writer’s block.
I’ve got a piece of paper wedged in my ‘important documents’ folder that I can use to prove to people that I know how to words good. A degree in formulating sentences that stimulate and envelop readers. And I’ve got a brain that has decided to take away the one skill that I was qualified in.
It comes across as effortless, the way a great writer spins their twine and weaves a story into existence. “But you write for a blog, you’re writing almost every day!” I can hear the voices inside my head protesting whenever I try to make excuses in front of my paper. And they’re right, I put out weekly posts onto my blog, I write for other people’s blogs, I write adaptations for fun on long train journeys. I do more than most in my situation, I’ve never been one to accept my brain’s decisions.
I can talk to my group of writer friends, and 70% of the time I’m not alone. It’s a cliché really, the tortured artist fighting to find their muse in a mundane existence. We are supposed to get angsty and irritable at our desks, fulfilling the destiny of the waste-paper-basket. We laugh about our problems and use our degrees to write witty puns and reactions to the latest memes, whilst ignoring the bottomless hole our ailment leaves us in our hearts.
On Tuesday, at work in my day job, the shop was heaving with Japanese tourists and a few tediously middle-class couples. My colleague and I were juggling the single till like the professionals we are, and the ‘classical music playlist’ my colleague had chosen for the day had begun to blare the Star Wars theme throughout the shop floor. I had finished serving my round of tourists and fought my way back through the crowd to rest briefly beneath the air-conditioning unit. As I was taking my well-earned five seconds of freedom, two elderly gentlemen entered the shop and began to wonder, looking mildly lost. The ever-present supervisor that I endeavour to embody, I walked over to ask if they needed any help. The taller of the two gestured to his hand, which held on tightly to an antique stove-top coffee maker. I nodded, we sell a similar, more modern make of the antique. The gentleman opened his mouth and spoke with complete silence before a gentle cough granted him a thick Welsh accent.
I knew at that moment that I needed to write a story about this character of a man. I needed to find his backstory and take him on an adventure. His squat friend stood in stoic silence during our exchange, I needed to give him a reason to be in the scene. I waited for the shop to clear so that I could scribble down some notes on a piece of scrap paper, the tips of my fingers itching to tell a narrative of the journey from rural Wales to our small town. And when I got home today, I wrote a character profile for Paulie Jones, retired postman and widower, who needs to track down a replacement part for his departed wife’s stove-top coffee maker.
Writer’s block is hard to deal with. When you find yourself unable to grasp at your imagination and form sentences, my advice to fellow sufferers is to run at any possible sparks of intrigue or inspiration. Every blaze begins with a spark, and I find that the best way to deal with a writer’s block is to burn it down.
Do y’all get writer’s block? How do you deal with it? What kind of things do you write? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter so we can all chat.