Thursday, February 12, 2009
LAUNDRY AND WRITER'S BLOCK
When I was a young single woman, I sometimes bought new underwear to avoid doing the laundry. Even today, I'm able to wait until my dresser drawers are empty before I start a load. (Except for fresh clean sheets and towels which I love.) So I know I'm in trouble if heading to the laundry room seems more appealing than facing my work-in-progress.
For a long time, I avoided the term writer's block. I think it was a result of hearing a well-known writer confess she'd suffered from it for five years. But there really isn't a more fitting reference. The times I've been afflicted with the ailment have usually been because I'm overwhelmed with too many tasks or because something is not working with my story.
When either of those two things happen, I have to fight the urge to head toward the washing machine and push the normal cycle button. Instead of pondering about my characters, I fantasize about empty laundry hampers and clean socks. But over the years, I've come up with my own treatments for writers block that have nothing to do with fluff and dry.
The first thing I try is webbing. It's the brainstorm tool I use almost daily and when I'm blocked on a story, I find setting the timer for ten minutes can offer miracles or, at the least, the next sentence. Once I had a bad case of writer's block. My deadline to turn in a draft had long passed. I was scared. The more time that went by, the more writing seemed an impossible thing to do. Finally I gave myself permission to write anything. I went to a coffee shop and webbed for a few minutes. My heart pumped faster and I rediscovered the joy of putting words on a page. The result was the picture book-Skinny Brown Dog. Sometimes you just have to put a pen in your hand and allow yourself to have fun. I was able to return to my novel the next day. That exercise taught me that when I'm blocked on one project, I can still write.
Some days all I need to do is get in my car and head down Highway 27 to Happy, Texas. The wide open spaces that stretch before me are almost zen-like and quiet a busy mind. It is one of the perks of living in the panhandle.
When webbing and driving don't ease the pain, I put down my pen and do something else creative. Those days you might find ten buttermilk pies cooling on the kitchen counter. If I can't make my word count goal at least I can be a prolific pie maker.
And I guess, if all else fails, there is always laundry to do.
Posted by Kimberly at 4:10 PM