I’ve been away from social media and blogging for about three days. I needed a break. I’m in the middle of writing the first book in a series to be released in June entitled The Last Terran and I had hit a creative bump in the road.
Sure I have the entire thing plotted out, have created 15K words of backstory, have written tons of character biographies, but something was missing. I needed to recharge the creative juices.
It just so happened that my oldest daughter was invited on a camping trip by one of her friends, and as it so happened I didn’t really know her friend’s dad very well except when he came to the house to drop off or pick up said friend. I asked politely if I could go, and he happily invited me along and said I could bring my son as well.
We met Kaylee’s friend at a gas station far in the hinterlands of Oklahoma and then followed them another five minutes deeper in, emerging in a secluded location in the middle of a hundred-plus acre family farm where sat a cabin sans electricity or running water.
It was perfect. No laptop, no cell phone, no problem.
We built a campfire and I became fast friends with my daughter’s friend’s dad as we stood around talking about hunting, fishing, and other things that only country boys like ourselves understood and loved. After we had the fire going, we went for a hike toward the river which took us through some undeveloped land full of thickets of thorn bushes that we had to navigate through and around. We spied tree stands and deer corn feeders, old ATV trails, and after an hour we reached the river. As we watched our kids play along the mud-caked banks we talked about growing up “out here” and what joys we had as youngsters playing in the woods, mostly hunting and fishing.
I returned from that hike (later to take another along some cattle trails) with an epiphany of sorts rattling around in my head. Not only had I found a new point of conflict for the hero of my novel, my whirring imagination had begun to devise many other sub-plots and deeper symbolism to use in my current project. As I talked to my new friend, ate camp-fire hamburgers, boiled water for coffee, I discovered that I needed this trip away from the grid to get myself back on track with my current project.
We spend so much time as writers in this age of the Internet playing around on Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare, but we don’t take the time to let our minds work the miracles that are needed to write good fiction. I would suggest taking a break from the digital world and just enjoy nature for a while or get away from the bustle of your job to enjoy time with your children or good friends. It can jumpstart several chapters of your novel or at least give you a different perspective on what you are currently creating.
It worked for me. Perhaps it could work for you.
Well, enough of this. I have to get to work.