Friday, October 11, 2013

Clearing the Channels

Greetings from the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where hubby and I are taking our annual vacation with a wide array of his relatives.  Normally I’m happy to hang with the large assortment of cool cousins and extended family, but right now there is a visiting herd of little kids running amok in the house.  It sounds like a pack of wild Indians out there (which probably isn’t so far from the truth), so I took this moment to hole up in my room and figuratively put pen to paper.

There was an interesting post on the writer’s blog Write to Done about writer’s block.  The brilliance of the post was in the different angle it took on this topic.  It viewed it not as “writer’s block,” but as a “log jam.”  The problem isn’t being blocked, but being so overwhelmed with ideas, thoughts, etc., that our brain jams up.  This was a real eye opener.  One, it made me feel better.  Two, it made perfect sense.  Instead of being an unproductive dolt, I’m really just too flush with ideas for my own good.  Recognizing the problem is halfway to a cure.  Looked at in the right light, it isn’t even really a problem.

This enlightening post came on the heels of a one-day workshop sponsored by the Adirondack Center for Writing.  It was on nature writing and was facilitated by the lovely Robin Zimmerer who published a book entirely about moss.  Seriously.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but it’s important to keep an open mind about such things and to be willing to try new experiences.

A campground in Old Forge was the great setting for the workshop. It was more about the intuitive, warm and fuzzy aspect of writing, whereas I’m more of a nuts and bolts kind of gal.  Still, where I didn’t think I’d be able to write anything remotely decent and felt embarrassingly blocked, I surprised myself by coming out of the
writing exercises with interesting, decent stuff.  About moss.  Seriously.

The best part of the weekend was spending time with fellow writer Nancy Scarzello, a Ticonderoga herbalist and naturalist whom I had corresponded with briefly in the spring.  The Summer of the Broken Leg flew by and I unexpectedly received an email from her telling me about the ACW workshop and asking if I would like to share a rented cabin with her in Old Forge while attending the workshop.  It was the perfect little getaway and a tonic to my writer’s soul to spend time with such a kindred spirit. 

Sometimes you just need to let the natural currents break up that log jam.


  1. Was so excited to see a new post, the first since the summer.... and..... most appropriately it's about writer's block. Go figure. Glad to hear it's a log jam. Interestingly log drives (and log jams) originated right here on the Schroon River. Dynamite worked for them. (But I'd try a walk in the 30 Acre Wood first :-)

    1. I try not to keep dynamite in the house. You've met my husband, haven't you?