Moving It Outside When You Feel Stuck

When I am trying to write a story and get stuck in a particular place I find the best and most helpful solution is to take it outside. Lately, I have been mulling over a missing transition piece in a novel that I am trying to transfer from my imagination to the hard drive of my Mac.

Most of it so far as been fairly easy, flowing like a river after a rainstorm, fast and furious leave me no choice but to hang on and see where the momentum wants to carry me. In the last week or so the river has slowed and forked off in several directions leaving me at the mouth of the tributary trying to look far enough ahead to see which branch to follow. My arms are getting tired of rowing in place so I am moving my  ‘office’ outside today to see if I can decide on a direction and get back to some forward motion.

In a few hours, I will be headed to Lanhydrock which never fails to inspire. I’ll be carrying my camera, a notepad, and a thermos full of hot coffee and will hopefully return with a more complete map of the river and sense of direction … story direction that is, because I know where I am going even if my characters don’t.

Here are a few pictures of what today’s office will offer as a workspace taken from a visit last year. If you wish to share tips as to what works for you when you feel stuck, I love to see your thoughts in a comment below.

So Far Away

 

Not So Far Away

Elizabeth, John, & Nik - Not So Far Away

 ” But you’re so far away
Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore
It would be so fine to see your face at my door ”

- Carole King

Making a decision to move away from the familiar is not so easy for most people. To move so far away that it requires an extended plane ride or maybe even several to reconnect with those we care about is becoming more common and a little less painful thanks to the many ways that exist for family and friends to stay connected. Yesterday, John and I paid a little visit to Alaska all the way from England for my nephew Nik’s birthday party. Thanks to the internet, iChat, and my sisters willingness to shift her desktop Mac around, John and I were able to “be present” for the family gathering. 

It was great fun to watch Nik open his presents, blow out his candles and sing a rousing round of Happy Birthday to him with his older brother Sam accompanying us on electric guitar. Sam would have made Jimi Hendrix proud as he opened the party with a raucous version of the Happy Birthday tune.  

The world’s a different place than when I turned eleven in 1971 and Carole King was singing, ” So Far Away “.  Far away isn’t quite so far now and although we couldn’t taste the yummy looking (no trans fats included) cake my sister Margaret made, we could gather together for a photograph with the birthday boy… bringing ourselves virtually into the living room though still not quite a face at the door.