Writer’s block. Here’s how it goes:
1) I’ve got five hours free and I’m sat in front of the computer with the compulsion to write a short story. There are colourful characters brewing, but no plot, no twist, no spark.
Make cup of tea number two.
2) Google writer’s block and find these quotes:
‘Writer’s block, I just drove around it four times. All my favorite writers live there.’ Jarod Kintz
‘I don’t get writer’s block. I get writer has too many ideas and doesn’t know which one to start next, block.’ Tyler Hojberg.
Yep, Tyler, now you come to mention it, I have got ideas for short stories – one fully formed with a twist and everything – and other vague ideas.
Make cup of tea number three. Clean bathroom sink.
3) Read two stories on the Costa Short Story Award website, both of them stunning, but The Glassblower’s Daughter felt so deft and complete that I’m now feeling the pressure just a little bit more.
Watch five minutes of a documentary I’ve already seen in the hope it might send ideas fireworking my way. It doesn’t. Drum fingers.
4) Oh what the hell, I try and cover two jobs at once by writing a short story using the unformed character of my unwritten third novel. I write 1,800 words and some of them are really quite good. But it’s not the blooming Glassblower’s Daughter, is it?
Make cup of tea number four. Take all the utensils out of a kitchen drawer and vacuum the accumulated crumbs. Wipe down. And breath……
5) Google writer’s block AGAIN and find this:
‘I don’t think that writer’s block exists really. I think that when you’re trying to do something prematurely, it just won’t come. Certain subjects just need time. You’ve got to wait before you write about them.’ Joyce Carol Oates.
Right, that’s it then, Joyce, I’m off for another cup of tea and some more cleaning.