I just got back from three fun-filled weeks in Oxford, UK. I was there for a class in Victorian Literature (sensation and detective fiction) as well as to do some sightseeing and catch up with friends.
Since I was staying in a 700+ year-old college with no phone, no television, and extremely limited internet access I figured those three weeks would be a perfect time to get some substantial writing done.
Sadly, I was mistaken.
Though I packed up my draft manuscripts (in varying stages of completion), my post-its, and my highlighters, they never even made it out of my backpack that first week. To be fair, I had quite a bit of reading and studying to do, not to mention a paper to start researching and a presentation to develop, but thoughts of writing never even crossed my mind.
When I finally did get some free time for writing, the page in front of me remained stubbornly blank, despite my best efforts. Apparently the Girls in the Basement missed the flight over and were off lounging on a beach somewhere drinking margaritas.
Hoping to trigger some creative thinking, I grabbed my camera and went on some long photo-walks. While I got some great pictures (I think), I made zero story-progress.
Undeterred by my lack of progress, or by the head-cold I picked up from one of my fellow classmates in week two, I spent some time attempting to write at this outdoor spot where CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien used to hang out. I was hoping they had left some good-writing karma behind, but if they did, someone else got it. The views were lovely and the surroundings peaceful, but my word-count remained at zero. Even these strange flowers (below) from the garden, which seemed like something straight out of Alice in Wonderland or Dr. Seuss, failed to trigger my imagination.
When I couldn’t even put together a Random Word Improv story on Friday, I knew I was in trouble. So I packed up my writing paraphernalia, called it a day, and headed off to Blackwell’s book store for some quality retail therapy. It may not have helped my writer’s block, but I did get some great Regency reference books that I’d been looking for, as well as some interesting fiction works.
Next week, when my jet-lag is all gone and I’ve caught up with all I missed at work, it will be time to get back to my daily writing practice. For now, I’m going to give my brain a rest and cuddle up with a flat white (coffee) and a book from my newly acquired stash.
So, has anyone else had an unexpected encounter with writer’s block lately? If so, do you have any suggestions for getting past it?