Winter is approaching, here in the great Northwest. It’s still warm now, but soon we will enjoy endless days of rainy grey darkness interspersed with brief moments of frozen hysteria. Yes, we who live in the rural parts of the Northwest dread those clear, cold nights when, just before dawn, the temperature hovers at 28 degrees Fahrenheit, and a fine glaze of ice encases the county roads, keeping things interesting.
In my part of the Northwest, the months of November through March are famous for the phenomenon known as Black Ice. The drive to the freeway is a white-knuckle experience: tightly controlled panic interspersed with moments of sheer terror. But I rarely have to drive in it, so it’s mostly my husband who gets the adrenaline rush of having survived yet another commute.
The dark days are sometimes depressing. I force myself to write, because to go a day without writing is to let the demons win. And even though I am not as inspired as I wish I was at this moment, I am getting the nuts and bolts out of the way, doing work that needs to be done, but isn’t that fun.
- Developing the theme.
- Getting to know the characters.
- Building the world.
- Designing the magic system.
My boots sit damply near the door, and the umbrella rests near them. Soon the retention-pond in the front yard will be full, and puddles will dot the landscape. I will walk the neighborhood, swathed in fleece and Gortex, dry and warm in the midst of side-ways rain storms, but not because I want to. I will do it because its “good for me.”
I will walk and consider my work in progress. Am I remaining faithful to my theme? How can I show the disintegration of a relationship without resorting to the same arguments and spats that are the cliché tropes of badly crafted romance novels? I decide that what I need to do is continue crafting the allegories, and build the layers of tension.
And once I have brainstormed my block into submission, I will stop in at the diner, order a coffee, and pull out my android tablet. I will write for an hour putting those thoughts together. It will be a productive hour, just because I have walked in the fresh air, and changed my writing environment.
Everyone suffers from stalled creativity. For me, the only solution is to force my way through it. Once I have a hole punched through the wall, new ideas crystallize and I am fired with the knowledge of what has to be done next.