Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cats, Tornadoes, Gardening & Writer's Block

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and one of my cats, Alvin, has hurt his back leg and is hobbling around on 3. Doesn’t it always happen on a holiday?

Also we are, once again, under a tornado watch, but to look outside you wouldn’t know it. The sky is blue, a few fluffy white clouds hanging about, and it’s hot, 90°F. But you don’t need to live in Oklahoma very long to know that can all change in a heartbeat.

Before we moved out here I read a book about this state, and, of course, it talked about the vagaries of the weather. By way of an example it told of a guy plowing a field with two horses, the weather is so hot that one of the horses keels over from heat exhaustion. In the time it takes him to unhitch the horse, the wind changes to the a northerly, and the other horse freezes to death. At the time, I laughed, I now realize it was a pretty much on the money.

Last Sunday, Mick and I went to the local garden center and picked up a few flowers for the front garden. Amazingly, most of my perennials survived last winter’s ice storms, they must be a hardy bunch. So we picked up a few more perennials, and some colorful annuals, hopefully things will look pretty nice once they get established.

While we were there, I was admiring their beautiful hanging baskets of petunias, but didn’t buy one as I thought we had spent enough. The following day Mick picked one up for me on his way home from work. Our veggie garden is doing well too, you can check that out on Mick’s blog at:

Okay, back to some more writerly advice for my granddaughter, recently she asked me what she could do about writer’s block. All writers have their own way of dealing with this phenomenon, some even claim not to suffer from it, I am not one of them. These are just a few things that work for me.

  • I try to have several projects on the go at any one time. That way if I get stuck, or fed up of one, I leave it alone for a while and work on something else. Sometimes when you try to force your conscious mind to come up with something it refuses to cooperate. But when I’m not consciously thinking about a story, a resolution to whatever it was that got me stuck will come to me.
  • If that doesn’t work, sometimes free writing can help. I set myself a time limit of 10-15 minutes and just write about anything that comes into my head. I don't worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar or anything like that, I just write. I also find this works best with pen and paper, rather than the computer. If at the end of the 15 minutes I want to carry on, I do so. Doing this helps to get some of the clutter out of my mind.
  • Sometimes I use a writing prompt to get my brain kick started. There are any number available on the Internet, and I have books that contain some.
  • Or I’ll write a blog post.

I find that the only way to get past writer’s block is to write something, anything.

By the way, yesterday was the thirteenth anniversary of my arrival in the US.

Thought for the Week

"Keep writing. Keep doing it and doing it. Even in the moments when it’s so hurtful to think about writing." – H.G. Wells.


BritGal' Sarah said...

Hey Jan' - as you will see from my blog all these watches/warnings are wearing me down my friend, this is the worst it's been since I got here.

Great writing tips thanks, making myself write everyday was one reason why I started my blog.

Congrat's on the anniversary :-)

Janet said...

Thanks, Sarah.

According to the weathermen this is the worst tornado season in a decade, I can well believe it.

plantgirl said...

Here in Utah the past 8 years or so we've been having "baby" tornadoes - was told when I moved here there were never any-I don't doubt there will be some this year. Of course, the real issue here is earthquakes.
Congrats on your anniversary & thanks for your comment about tomatoes on my blog :)

Janet said...

Hi pg, I wasn't even aware that Utah was troubled by earthquakes, let alone tornadoes. But i'm a Brit so I'm learning all the time.

I did live in California for 9 years so am aware of the earhtquake problem, having experienced a few tremors in my time. The place we first lived in CA was only 2 miles away from Northridge, so lots of rattling and rolling there.