Finding Inspiration to Write When I Was Blocked


I took the photo above from my very own secret place, a place I discovered a while back when I had reached the edge.

I had been struggling with one of those months . . . okay, a couple of those months. You know, the kind of months that leave you broken, dried up from all the crying, parched from all the frustrated screeching - those kind of months?

So, I just gave up. I just stopped. I never just stop. I'm always running around doing a million things, but I just stopped. I had already reached the breaking point, and I was floating in that stupor that overtakes you thereafter, that strange calm with a hint of insanity.

I found myself outside, staring at the sky. I walked around my property just trying to focus on the world around me instead of freaking out some more. My home is surrounded by agriculture - I live in the part of California where there's no ocean nearby but lots of land to grow on. There are vineyards on two sides of us and a corn/cotton field across the street and a field of green winter wheat stretches out behind our house during certain times of the year.

I walked over to the field to see the wheat up close. We had been getting spring showers so clouds puffed up the skyline. I stood there at the edge of a sea of green. I felt like I was standing on the edge of my life, never willing to just dive into it. I took one of the buds of wheat in my hand and caressed it with my fingers. I decided, I wasn't going to stay on the edge.

I crept through the reeds, careful not to leave a path. I waded into the field until the green buds came up to my waist. Then, I dove in, laying down and spreading out in it. The wheat formed a bed of greenery and the stalks encircled and protected me from everyone's sight. All I could see from that spot was the green around me and the cotton clouds in the sky. My mind cleared, and I felt like I had found heaven. Everything that had been tearing me a part, all the pressures and worries of life, lifted off of me and floated away, carried off by a gentle breeze.

I went back several times, packing a bag with something to sit on, something to read, and a journal to write in. I waited until my husband was out and no one was around, and I snuck across the barren land between my home and the field. I crouched down as I slipped into the reeds and found my spot. As soon as I was hidden away in the green world, I was free, free from everything bearing down on me. I scribbled away in my journal or just stared up at the clouds as they whispered by, swirling into imaginary creatures and far-fetched ideas.

This experience, this place, the way I felt there, the magic of it - this is the type of thing that inspires me to write, the type of thing that inspires entire novels. I've had moments like this before, a moment of inspiration after a breakdown. I was going through one when I came up with the idea that turned into A White Room

After this little expereince, a couple months later, I started working on a novella and guess what popped up? Fields of green winter wheat. Walking out into a field also appeared in a short story I wrote for an anthology on legacy coming out in spring 2015. 

If you are struggling with writer's block, consider changing your routine, doing something out of your character, something you've wanted to do but haven't, even if it's something small, like walking around your property and really taking a good look around. That exact thing might not do it for you but who knows maybe you'll be walking into your next writing spree.


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