Whether to be at your desk or in the garden

I was blocked this morning, as usual. Today my demon was telling me that I wasn’t clever enough to surmount the latest obstacle. It’s too much, too big, my brain’s too tired. I thought I’d go and shovel soil instead. We’re building a potager in the front garden – a fancy solution to a dead lawn – and I’m Soil-Shoveller-in-Chief. It hurts. Bending over the huge sack and filling a bucket hurts. My lower back is killing me. And I would rather be doing that than writing?

I had a bit of a word with myself, to see what the matter was. The inner writer was curled up in a corner, whimpering at the magnitude of the problem. I told her that I was very familiar with what she’s not good at, but would she like to tell me what she is good at? ‘Being there,’ she said, wiping her hand across her nose. So, right, get there.

Large scale displacement activity going on in the front garden.

I went back to work and put myself in my protagonist’s shoes, right into the moment, feeling, smelling, hearing what was happening. And the impenetrable wall wasn’t there any more. The latest raised bed, however, remains to be filled, and I’m off there now, legitimately finished with my writing session.

4 thoughts on “Whether to be at your desk or in the garden

  1. LOL – I spend a lot of time whimpering. Distractions are so much better…. Twitter, Facebook, leaving comments on other writer’s blogs….

    Tomorrow I _am_ going to get another sentence written. At this rate though – a sentence a day – my next book should be ready for publication in about 3012.

    Helen Hollick

    • A thousand years! That’s the kind of calculation I’d rather not make. How about writing a pamphlet instead? Meanwhile, enjoy the primroses. Today I thought I’d go for a major block and so arranged it that every time I hit a key some sky-high structure made of neon light leaps up, bearing the message, ‘What’s the point?’ I found a cunning answer: there isn’t one, so I may as well write as not. Through sheer dogged perseverance, I’ve succeeded in changing all my chapter numbers.

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