Friday, 4 October 2013

With thanks - this writer getting out of a rut

I've been in a word hole for about a week. Who knows why, but it got to the point where I couldn't even read. I started 'A Field Guide to Getting Lost' by Rebecca Solnit (irony is recognised). By the end of the introduction I was so excited by it that I ordered it for dear friend in Australia. And yet, I had to put it down, because I knew I wasn't in the mindset to appreciate it properly.

And when I had the confirmation email that the book had been dispatched, I realised that I'd ordered the wrong book. So Mel, I look forward to hearing how you enjoy 'Wanderlust: A History of Walking'. At least I got the author right.

For several days I was more likely to eat large bowls of pasta and watch poor tv than be involved with written words.

A combination of things have got me back at the desk, but most importantly I'd like to thank Matt Haig, and all of the people who have tweeted about what an inspiration THE HUMANS is.

I could easily have finished it in one sitting, but I'm not willing to let it inspire only one day.

I remember reading someone saying something like - you should leave your desk when you still want to keep writing. For me it's the same with this book.

Music, as usual, has also got me back on track, and this week it's discovering Agnes Obel's new album. 'Aventine' was released in the UK on Monday, and has been 3 years in the making. It's a struggle to pick one song to highlight. Reviews describe the 'mournful sternness' of the album. As usual I get something slightly different from it. I've felt like I've been swimming out from a bay beach on the Mornington Peninsula, swimming past children's thrill squeals, through the chimes of anchors and sails moving with the tide and the wind, and swimming on out to the deeper water with sun on my back, salt thick hair, and the tranquil space of contentment. And that's when my word brain really takes flight.

So for any one struggling for inspiration at the moment, I hope this might help. As for me, I'm off to the local pool. And then I'll be back to finish another draft of a 4,500 story called 'Shame'. And maybe tomorrow, or on the weekend, I'll be loving 'A Field Guide to Getting Lost'.


  1. Sorry to hear that, Jen, but good to hear that you're getting out of it. That's funny about ordering the wrong book! I know exactly that kind of space, where you can't seem to do anything right. No idea where that comes from. The good news is that Wanderlust is a good book, so your friend should enjoy it :-)

  2. Thanks for the tip re. Wanderlust, Andrew. It's arrived in Melb so it'll be interesting to hear what my friend thinks. I'm just home from a great long weekend at the Retreats West lighthouse retreat and feel fully writing recharged. Will post details (and pictures) soon. Hope you're enjoying any seasonal changes out of your Greek window, and keeping up the workflow.