writer’s block, by katie

Katie’s English assignment was to write something using all of the following vocabulary words.

Provocation

Feeble

Ruthless

Livid

Umbrage

Tirade

Commence

Altercation

Formidable

Pensive

Resilient

Reverent

Tranquil

Succinct

Acquiescence

Uncouth

Impassive

Ramshackle

She was struggling with where to start. I told her to start in the middle. “I hate that advice,” she said.

It finally came together and she smiled as she wrote.

Halfway through, she called me over. “Mama, come read this,” she said. When she was done, she said, “You can post this if you want.”

Yes, please.

I give you Katie.

Writer’s Block by Katie Wilson
 .
Writing. Seems impossible when you think about it. Writing essays isn’t too bad, but stories are impossible.
.
A plot coming right out of your head. Characters, dialogue, relationships, a setting, a place for the story to go. One person ought to have a lot of trouble doing that all in one sitting. Really, one person ought to have trouble doing that at all. And besides that, all of the good ideas are taken. Boy wizard who saves the world? Taken. Girl from a poor town who fights to the death with other children and starts a revolution? Taken. A young man and a young woman who fall in love despite the fact that the young woman doesn’t remotely like the young man to start with? Taken! Although I have a sense of reverence for the authors who used up all the good stories, I do feel quite livid with myself that I didn’t think of them first. Also with the authors for using them before I could. It is, in a word, unfair. Any other good ideas I have had, I’ve already used, and I take umbrage at myself for not having any more good ideas. As I sit here at my desk with my computer, trying desperately to conquer a horrible case of writer’s block, I feel as if I did something to provoke the gods of writing.
.
Oh, Apollo, what have I ever done to you to curse me with this inability to write one stupid story? Why must you be so cold-hearted and ruthless?
.
My feeble attempts at writing a beautiful, wonderful story keep turning out cheesy and cliché. Write a bit, delete. Write a bit, delete. It’s like a horribly tedious game. Another idea comes to mind, and I write it down quickly before I forget.
.
“The young girl’s eyes widened as she continued her passionate tirade about…”
 .
About what, exactly, the world may never know, because of course, as always, I delete. I try to write, I honestly try, but literally nothing good comes to mind. I have written nothing. The clicking cursor is evil; it is mocking me. I feel the formidity of having nothing to present tomorrow in class, and I try with all my might to commence writing.
 .
Again, nothing.
.
I try a new method: coming up with two characters and their relationship and writing around that. I murmur a quick prayer to Apollo, apologizing that I called him heartless.
.
James and Jane. They are a married couple whose marriage is not going well. I write altercation after altercation, but none of them sound right. The words I have them say sound forced, the way they act is far too cheesy. I delete.
I sit pensively, staring at my blank screen. Each time I try to start again, the characters are impassive, the words I write are uncouth. I try looking around my bedroom for inspiration. Looking at my ramshackle bookshelf just makes me angry that I can not write books like the ones on my shelf, so that one is out. My overflowing closet is no inspiration, either.
.
Suddenly, an amazing idea comes to me. A story of a resilient young man who overcomes sickness and murder and more. This story would be the one. It would be perfect. It would be published and win awards. I am about to bring my fingers down to type …
 .
My father steps into my room to say a succinct goodnight, and the idea is gone. Gee, thanks, Dad.
.
I look at the clock on my wall. It’s one o’clock a.m. I am exhausted. I need sleep, but I still do not have a story. Finally, I acquiesce and write what I feel. As the words fill the page, a feeling of tranquility washes over me. The story is simple, easy. My fingers skim the keys as I type…
.
Writing. Seems impossible when you think about it. Writing essays isn’t too bad, but stories are impossible. A plot coming right out of your head. Characters, dialogue, relationships, a setting, a place for the story to go. One person ought to have a lot of trouble…

 

17 thoughts on “writer’s block, by katie

  1. A lesson well learned Mz Katie….. Write about WHO you are, be honest with yourself and us….. I look forward to reading YOUR books….new and fresh and real. I want to be the first to pre-order the signed first edition…. Make it out to Mz Faye… She believes in me!

  2. Katie is a remarkable person! Tell her from one aspiring writer to another, don’t delete!! If you don’t mind my swearing, let yourself write that shitty first draft, it’s the soil from which your beautiful story will grow.

  3. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing this with us Katie! Also, might need to get her a copy of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott next 🙂

  4. Such an amazing writer! And so young! I’m so grateful you posted something by her today. I was actually just looking for a way to ask you a question: Katie seems to do so well. I’m sure she has her moments, we all do. But, my 5 year old son is having a hard time dealing with his role as big brother to my 4 year old autistic son. I make a point to have special “dates” with the 5 year old and work hard to give him attention and affection. But, it’s pretty much impossible to give him remotely the same time and attention as my 4 year old. He’s constantly worried about his little brother and takes far too much weight upon himself. Lately he’s struggled with little brothers constant “whining/moaning”, which requires much attention from mama. Just a few minutes ago, big brother said to me, “Mom, it feels like you care for [brother] more than you care for me.” It killed me. I’ve been so worried about it anyway, and that pretty much broke me inside. I KNOW he feels that way and I don’t know what to do about it. If it’s ok to ask, how have you and Luau worked with Katie through these issue? I’m just a mess. Thanks so much.

    • oh, honey, i get this. all sibling relationships are difficult to navigate, but widely disparate needs certainly add another layer of complexity. we still deal with this stuff. i can’t claim magical answers, i can only tell you what we do.

      we talk. a lot. your son expressing his feelings is huge. we try not to make assumptions. ever. we provide katie with a safe space to talk to an adult who is not us. that matters. for all of us. she needs a safe space to say what she needs to say. we spend as much one on one time with each kiddo as we can. we divide and conquer a lot. when katie was smaller, she went through a faze where she would tell us all the time, despite those efforts, that we NEVER did anything just for her. we bought her a really cute wall calendar. when we did something together, we wrote it on the calendar. it helped. we created katie day. a day where she got to make all the choices. one parent at a time so that it would work, but she scheduled the entire day. she even made us all wear pink. we talk a lot about the fact that fair is not always equal and equal is not always fair. that we don’t have to have “special needs” to have needs. that those needs that we all have are built into our family – that we accommodate each other ALL THE TIME. That we are a team. that when one of us needs help, we will all do our part to make sure they can get it. that that includes her – that when she needs help, she gets it. that sometimes it’s a matter of triage, and those moments are hard. that we see her in those moments. that we appreciate her help.

      also, that the grass ain’t always so much greener on the other side of the fence. in the moments when she pined to be a “typical family” whatever the hell that is, we’d talk about her friends – how some of them fought with their siblings constantly, how horrified she’d been when she’d heard them saying really hurtful things to each other – we’d ask if they might just yearn for what she has with her sister sometimes.

      the bottom line is talking. which means, as hard as it is to hear, you’re off to a really good start.

      xo

  5. This reminds me at how my favourite author (Piers Anthony) writes. It is amazing, I love this. If I rant, this could be a rant. I love at these things. Tell Katie to keep at writing. That style is awesome. And I love this.

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