I don’t remember much from school, and I can only attribute this memory loss to two things.
- The unreliability of my memory, which manages to retain things like conversations had years ago word for word or the exact outfit someone was wearing when I first met them, they’re all there, painfully clear and motionless in my mind. I manage to balance this so-far useless trait with a pure talent for forgetting huge expanses of time where significant things happen, for example, school.
- Being a terrible student.
My school life, like a lot of teenagers, was based around the social aspect of it. These memories are embossed in my mind with such definition; I doubt I’ll ever forget them. In my over-confident fifteen-year-old head, I didn’t go to school to learn, I went to school to hang out, see my friends and wish my life away.
My days were filled with fog, a problem retaining information (a part of dyslexia I was unaware of at the time) and a debilitating lack of concentration. These all sound like huge overreactions to minor problems, but at the time, they didn’t feel minor. They cast huge shadows across five years of my life, placed a firm wall between my family and me and caused me to act out repeatedly. I was disruptive, viscously rude and consistently argumentative. Teenage years are tough. Mine felt like I was crawling through salt-covered glass most of the time.
One of the only things I felt comfortable with at school was English. I remember with such clarity, sitting in my English GCSE exam, with a severe lack of revision done and laying my insolent eyes over the first question which asked me how to make a cup of tea. I remember smirking the way I do when someone says something entirely strange and unexpected. What an intriguing task, to write about something so mundane in an attempt to make it as interesting as it possibly could be. Like carving an angel out of a block of wood.
This is where I started to take on board different ideas that gently ease the creative juices out of you. Writing tasks and thinking games that greased the stiff, stubborn cogs of my brain. I have a select few exercises that I almost always use when I write, whether it be poetry, short stories or scripts. Over time, I intend to share with you everything that helps me, because boy, do I need a lot of help. Princess procrastination here.
So, here is my first writing tip for you. Think of something mundane. How to make a cup of tea? How to run a bath? How to get dressed? Make it interesting. While you’re unlikely to write a critically acclaimed book about how you make your tea in the morning, your brain will start venturing into new territory, you’ll start using words that feel a little foreign on your tongue and you might even shake that dreaded writer’s block.