Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Road Blocks, Stumbling Blocks and Building Blocks

I am suffering from a case of writer's block.  It's not writer's block in the traditional sense.  I don't sit at my computer screen, staring at the white space, waiting for my muse to descend and unleash a torrent of creativity.

My writer's block is more of the logistical variety.  It started in February, when the hard drive to my new netbook crashed.  The one I hadn't yet made back-up disks for, because I hadn't yet purchased an external disk drive. Off it went, mummified in bubble wrap, across state lines to anonymous techs.  Between the crash itself, communicating the problem, sending it off and waiting for its return, I lived without it for six weeks.

This shouldn't have presented a stumbling block.  I'd written my NaNoWriMo novel on our PC in our upstairs home office.  But the netbook spoiled me.  It allowed me to perpetuate the illusion to my family that I interacted with them, by virtue of sitting in the same room.  My family liked that.  The cats liked it too.  Without the portable writing tool, I stopped writing.  Oh, I know, you'll throw the suggestion of pen and paper in my face.  I have two words for you: chicken scratch.

The netbook's been home since mid-March, so that particular block is long gone.  But then I got sick.  It was just a mild head cold, a few days of rest and I was fine.  For a week.  Then I got sick again, with a slightly more pernicious cold virus.  A fuzzy, mucus-filled head, hacking cough and a need to keep a tissue in hand at all times do not lend themselves to writing.

By the time I recovered, we headed out on our spring break trip to Disney.  I managed to dash off a guest blog post when I returned home.  I powered up my netbook and started sifting through the ideas in my brain.  A civil war shifter romance novel formed.  That little germ of a novel about the recent floods floated by.  My fingers wiggled in glorious anticipation.

Busy as a Bee!

Then softball season started.  My daughter's playing in majors, the youngest girl on the team and at that level.  Turns out there are a lot more games and practices in majors.  And her science fair is coming up and she chose a project that "requires adult supervision".  My van broke down - again - requiring elaborate transportation-related square dancing between my husband, mother and me.  The diet I started back in February means I grocery shop more often, to keep us stocked in fresh veggies and fruits. Yay weight-loss!:)  Boo time loss.:(   Laundry is endless, my full-time paying job is busy and I confess, in my initial writing hiatus, I rediscovered my love of sleep.

My writer's block is a really just a series of road blocks, the construction zones of daily living.  The great thing about construction zones is that they generally come with detours.  It takes longer to get to your destination, but you'll get there.  I'm getting around my blocks by seeking out some building blocks.  I picked up Strunk and White's Elements of Style, at last, an overdue addition to my reading list and writer's tool box.  As long as I watch when my daughter's at bat, my husband doesn't scold me too much for reading at her game.

I started this blog too.  I whipped up a short piece of flash fiction for Mysti Parker's May blog contest.  I'm reading a lot in the genre I'm thinking of writing in next.  These may be detours that take me further away from sitting down and actually writing that novel, but they're pleasant detours.  I'm hoping these detours will unblock my creativity so that I begin to block out the time I need to write.

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