Road Trip Wednesday: Bird by Bird
Today is my first Road Trip Wednesday. Thanks for making a pit stop here!
The question posed at YA Highway: How do you beat writer's block?
I wish I could say that I were immune to such a thing, but I'm not. How I deal with writer's block has definitely changed over the years as my responsibilities (and children) grow.
Back in the old days, when I was in college and grad school, I would simply put down whatever I was working on and hit the pavement. My favorite place to walk was the Lakewalk in Duluth, Minnesota. Who wouldn't be inspired by such loveliness? I would think about my work, turn over ideas in my head, and listen to Duran Duran, Hall & Oates, Rick Springfield. Music from the 80s that got my feet and brain moving.
|My son Toad at the Lakewalk ~ July 2011|
In Mankato during grad school, if I had time I would walk a few blocks down to the Betsy-Tacy bench. Maud Hart Lovelace's books were the first to inspire me as a young child to write my own stories. Betsy Ray grew up to be a writer, and I wanted to do the same. I even lived in "Deep Valley" for a couple of years. It wasn't as idyllic as it was in Betsy's time, but over the years, the Betsy-Tacy Society has worked hard to preserve Betsy's and Tacy's houses on Hill Street and provide opportunities to experience that feeling, even if just for a couple of hours.
|The Betsy-Tacy Bench ~ Mankato, Minnesota|
Times have changed. I'm out of school with a full-time job and two amazing, busy, and (dare I say) demanding children. Most of my writing is done after the kids go to bed or on the weekends. I don't have time for writer's block. I don't have time to take a walk to work out my thoughts and ideas. I tend to have epiphanies in the shower at 5:30 in the morning.
What works for me now is to just sit down and start typing. Take it one bird at a time, as Anne Lamott wrote in her book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. I take it one scene at a time, one idea at a time. Most days, the words work themselves out. Sometimes those words are more amazing than I could have imagined or find a way to fix what's lacking in the manuscript.
Sometimes, when it's ten o'clock and I'm just sitting down at the computer, I'll write for a few minutes and I won't feel it. It's just not there. And that's okay. I've given it my best shot for that night, and tomorrow will be better. I will continue to be struck and stuck by writer's block, of course. Hazard of the job.
I'll just keep taking it bird by bird.
|Wolf Ridge Chickadees ~ Betsy Bowen|