Blocking Writer’s Block – Terry Pratchett- Parallel Parking?

Parallel Parking?

Sometimes you feel like you need a change.  You want to do a whole U-turn, but that feels as dangerous and illegal in the real i.e. metaphorical sense, as it does on the street.  But you don’t feel you have the time or patience to turn the slow way, the way that, well, parallels parallel parking–that is, the type of turn that involves a lot of backing and twisting and backing and twisting.

I just finished the new novel, I Shall Wear Midnight, by the incomparable Terry Pratchett.  It is not one of Pratchett’s best books;  it has a very complex plot with a great many characters  (long-time denizens of Discworld) who may not resonate with a non-Pratchett afficionado.   But like all of Pratchett’s books, it has wonderful moments of ingenuity, wackiness, and above all, generosity.  Also a lesson:  find out who you are and be it.  Find out what you like to do and do it.

Pratchett, who has now written over 40 books, is someone who found out what he liked to do at a relatively early age and who has done it a lot, even continuing now through early onset Alzheimer’s.

Which brings me to one of my perennially favorite topics–blocking writer’s block.  We can’t all have Pratchett’s prolific elan.  But we can like him, work with what we have.

Easily said, I told myself.  So what about all the projects you want to do?   I thought of, for example, a book on writer’s block, for example?  I’ve already written a fair amount about the topic, but it immediately felt unmanageable.   My mind even filled with illustrations–yet, they too felt impossible.  (For one thing, they didn’t have elephants.)

And then, I got a phone call from a college-age daughter.   She wanted to talk; to get some advice.  So lovely to be sought in that way.  After a while, still listening, I began to draw.

The drawing, below, was not exactly what was in my head.  Still, it was a start.

First "Blocking Writer's Block" Drawing

My lesson:  give yourself the gift of trying.  Make yourself make a start.   Better yet, let yourself make a start.  Even if you have to twist and back into it, slowly working yourself into your chosen spot or direction.

Then, after a while, start again.

Second "Blocking Writer's Block" Drawing

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