Through the Wilderness

I think a lot. Some might say I’m a serial over-thinker with my tendencies to analyse, deliberate, cogitate, and ruminate.

My brain hardly ever shuts down. Even when I go to sleep, I’m prone to stirring through the night and once awake, my head whirs into action and off I go again, mulling over the day or the day to come, fretting about my personal life or on occasions, a character or scene from my WIP robs me of sleep.

Having been paralysed by writer’s block for the last eighteen months I became hung up on that and spent countless hours considering how to overcome my inability to write. Somehow, I managed to get a partial in to the NWS for the deadline and last week I received the most supportive and positive feedback imaginable back from my ‘Reader.’ I’ve already made the suggested tweaks on the submitted chapters. My reader helped re-affirm that I can write and how much I want to be published, so much so, that their words of encouragement made me take a step back and re-evaluate what I’m going to do to get there. After all, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” And the solution came as somewhat of an epiphany while I was out walking the pup a few days ago…

I realised that instead of thinking about writing all the time, rather than the actual writing, and allowing the other personal and domestic matters to interrupt my creative flow and frazzle my brain, I need to get a grip, free my mind and do what writer’s do – WRITE!

There is plenty of time for thinking when I’m in the bath, swimming, driving or out walking the dog. I need to compartmentalise my time. And I need to stop procrastinating! So I intend trying, if I can, to use the ‘dead’ time, like when I’m swimming my lengths, to benefit my writing ideas – maybe mull over characters or scenes. Then, seeing as some of my best work is done when I’m ‘at one’ with nature, I’m going to make the most of that too.

I’m blessed to live where I do. Being a huge countryside and nature lover, there is something about gazing at a sunset…

…and the stars at night and seeing the combines make tracks in the field. Walking the puppy in the rain and clomping along. Studying the birds on the bird table. They all inspire me. The trouble is, despite having a view to die for and all of these things around me daily, there are too many distractions. Like for example, my eldest son blasting out music or playing the Xbox if he’s not working a shift, or the neighbours popping their heads over the hedge for a natter, or the housework.

So guess what I’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks which seems to be working?

I’ve taken to getting in the car and driving to a peaceful place for some solitude. It’s a National Trust valley with lunar views of the South Shropshire Hills and a babbling brook only a few minutes drive from where I live. My car loaded with all the essentials – a fold up chair, blanket, water, my laptop, fingerless gloves in case it’s cold – I set up and write for a few hours without no interruptions except an occasional sheep or hiker walking past. If it’s too windy or rainy, like it is as I write this blog, I sit in the car, push the seat back and perch my laptop on my lap. No internet, no mobile phone connections, no people, no noise. No thinking. Just writing.

My own little outside office.


Yes, it may sound a little extreme and my friends would think me eccentric if they knew, (but then they probably know I am already!) but so far, it seems to be working. Even if it is only short-term or until the weather gets too cold to sit in the car, I’m being productive now.

It won’t be easy. Fear of Writer’s block hasn’t left me, and how do I find time and space in the day when I’m (to all intents) a single parent. Mummy duties, being a taxi driver, head chef, gardener etc have to be worked around if I’m going to get my novel re-written and off to the agent who’s waiting to see it. This will require all my powers of determination and being more single-minded. And if it doesn’t work, I may have to re-think…

So where do you do your writing ‘thinking’ time? And do you ever find you have to get away from it all in order to focus.



17 thoughts on “Through the Wilderness

  1. Hi Debbie

    Having been bogged down in the small hours with thoughts of work, I’m off to our tin box in a Somerset field for the weekend. There, we’ll walk n the morning, go to the pub, have a nap (not slumped in the pub in a pool of beer but back at the van, hopefully) and then I’ll write. The block when working on my WIP has been hard to crack – I can edit quite happily, enter competitions with reworked stuff, but churn our anything new? Nah. It all sounds like twaddle at the moment. So I’m taking to the Quantock hills. Thanks for your lovely post – realy glad you’ve found your muse again, Debs


    Celia xxxx

    • Thank you, Celia

      Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a tin box in Somerset! I love Somerset. (Nan was from Glastonbury so I go there when I can) Make the most of it my friend 😉

      My (ex) in-laws have a caravan near Devil’s Bridge and I always manage to get plenty of writing done there! Pity I can’t go and stay for six weeks as I’d probably get the WIP finished if I had that amount of solid time.

      See you very soon!


  2. Your new writing space sounds divine, Debbie! I’ve been thinking of doing something similar, just a shame my laptop is reliant on an electricity supply these days! I’m thinking of spending some of next week in the library to get on with some plotting. Far too distracting at home at the moment.
    Good Luck with the rest of the book. C xx

    • Hi Catherine

      Thank you for commenting. It is divine! Luckily today my eldest has gone off out so I’m cocooned in the kitchen with only the dog to distract me and about to do a solid few hours 😉

      I thought about the library but we only have a small one and it’s quite busy (lots of older people who tend to natter) so I don’t think that would be conducive to working on the novel. I need almost total serenity and quiet to work. Although I guess I could do the plotting stages and edits there. I might try it sometime. Maybe when there’s snow on the ground and it’s too cold in my car.


  3. A writer has to do what a writer has to do. I get up at 4:30 each morning. No one is up yet, not even the birds. Once the sun comes up, there are too many distractions. I get at least two hours of uninterrupted writing time in these wee hours..

    • Hello Leigh

      Yes, I’ve thought about doing that and several times, even set the alarm with good intentions. However I don’t sleep very well (through over-thinking!) so more often than not, I wake to the alarm and re-set it to get a couple more hours sleep.

      I will try that though if I ever get my sleep pattern regulated as by nature, I’m a ‘morning’ person.


  4. I do my thinking time when I’m walking the dog on the beach, in the bath, or when I’m ironing.

    I love the sound of your new ‘office’. What a clever idea!

    • Hi Debs

      Thanks for your comments. I have to watch TV when I’m ironing to help pass the time 😉

      I was only thinking of you yesterday when I wrote this post. I wish I had your shed!! It does seem to help to feel as if you’re ‘leaving’ the house to go to work at the office. However, we live in a conservation area and one of the ‘Areas of Outstanding Beauty’ and if that’s not enough, the barn is Grade 2 Star listed so there’s no chance of any sort of shed or summerhouse. Grrr.


  5. Debbie, if you’ve got writer’s block, how did you manage to write such a thoughtful blog post?

    I do some of my best thinking when I’m doing the dishes. That is, for me, a sufficiently mindless activity. And when I get a good idea, I “computerize” it as quickly as I can.

    Blessings, Bear hugs, and chocolate as you sort things out.

    • Aww, Rob, you’re always so lovely! Thank you.
      It’s funny how I’m grappling and battling but am finding my way through, and in no small part that’s down to people like you.

      I think I must be a little obsessive. I have to be very serious and have proper ‘time out’ to think. I shall have to try it when doing the housework! And I don’t computerise, but I carry a pen and paper WHEREVER I go!

      PS – Your blessings, hugs and especially the chocolate always welcome 😉
      Thank you

  6. Hi Debbie, glad you’re back into writing again-best of luck with it. I like your idea of throwing everything in the car and going off somewhere peaceful to write! Hope that list of essentials includes snacks.

    • Hi Anita

      Good to hear from you!
      Thanks for your kind words. Yesterday when I went off I went via a wonderful deli in our nearest town and had a veritable picnic! 😀

      Hope to see you soon

      • Hi Debbie
        It sounds lovely. I get ideas when I run a bath, something nice and relaxing about listening to water running. Where you go to write sounds amazing. I don’t drive, but on the bus to work an idea might form. I used to go to the library, but sometimes find that can be a bit noisy.
        Well done for submitting and finding your own way forward in your writing.
        Lorraine x

  7. Hi Debbie, well done for managing to submit to NWS under those circumstances. I do my thinking when I’m grocery shopping, which is possibly why I always come home with things I didn’t need and none of the things I did go for!

    I also find it difficult to write at home. It’s far too noisy when the family are at home and I always end up thinking about the jobs I could be doing when there’s no one in the house. I have also used a local beauty spot as an outside office in the past and it worked for me too.

    Good luck with getting your ms ready for the agent xx

    • Hi Claire

      Yikes! Grocery shopping? Isn’t it funny how different we all are? I can’t think of anywhere worse for thinking. As I mentioned before, I need complete solitude and peace. I hate to think of your shopping bill!

      I went to my local beauty spot earlier and had a couple of hours. It does work, doesn’t it? Today I’ve started on the first chapter of my NEXT TWO NOVELS!
      Hmmm…Interesting, they are based in the country.

      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.

  8. Hi Lorraine

    Thanks for your support, as always!
    Oh, I love my baths too although I tend to think about more personal/family matters in the bath rather than my writing.

    And yes, I like thinking time on public transport, especially trains, without the hassle of having to navigate.

    I’ll try to post a photo tomorrow of my special place so you will see what I’m going on about and why it’s proving so inspiring. Of course, I think most of the motivation comes from within, but going to my ‘office’ in the countryside seems to have kick-started me, so I intend to make the most of it and Carpe Diem!


  9. Oh I do indentify with that tendency to over think and analyse, Debbie, and have been told I do it too much! But no wonder your mind is busy all the time after what you’ve been through. Glad you’re finding what works best for you. Funnily enough, I love to write once a week at Costa in a nearby mall, or on trains!

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