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Unplugging and Getting in the Flow

This weekend I had a wonderful time in nature and I got my mojo back. I had been feeling stuck with my new novel. Switching point-of-view from the protagonist's voice featured in Section I. to the antagonist's voice of Section II. proved to be more of a challenge that I had planned.

The key to getting this writer's mojo back and into the flow of writing was being submerged in nature. I went to Michigan, to a relatively isolated location with part of my family. There isn't an awful lot to do there because it is still out of season and too cold for out and out swimming in Lake Michigan. I found that the best thing to do was simply rest and relax, listening to the sounds of nature. I also did a lot of bird watching and what an array of birds live there. I saw some spectacular migrant birds and some of the types I don't see in my yard--actually many types I don't see here. We are mostly visited by sparrows, cardinals and robins with the occasional blue jay, starling or crow. I was especially taken with the songs I heard. In the morning there was a virtual chorus of melodic sounds.

Besides listening and watching I was unplugged. This was what they call in painting, a happy accident. My computer and charger were packed but were left at my writing desk, for some odd reason. I thought someone else had grabbed it but no one including me, did it. At first I was agitated by this oversight. Then I decided to make the most of it. My youngest son, who is also a novelist, and I set out for the pharmacy and bought writing pads and pens. We sat on the screened in porch, watching and listening to the birds, enjoying the bucolic scenery while writing.

I had the opportunity to do something called dream storming. Much like brain storming you visualize scenes and happenings in your book and then convey them in a sentence or two. I had done this previously but I had not looked over my work. Come to find out, I had virtually mapped out my entire book, from beginning to end, with just a few little gaps to fill in. I had used index cards for this, as directed by the teacher in my Novel in a Year course at Story Studio Chicago. Laying them out on a large glass table and then putting them in chronological order, according to how I wanted them to occur in the world of my novel, I soon discovered I had a real novel at my finger tips.

Today I put these cards in the form of a story map. I also wrote half of the second chapter of Section II. Whereas previously I had become distracted by the goings on of the internet's many lures, being unplugged afforded the opportunity to get back in the flow. With music being the only form of media to really engage my senses, quickly enough I was submerged into the world I had created on the index cards.

I went to the library to write in the Quiet Zone. I could not believe all that poured out and onto the page.At last, I think I have a new book on my hands!


  1. Beautiful pictures! And I have to ask, are your cardinals as crazy as ours? They like to run into windows, the males do. lol

    1. Stephanie K, thank you! I've never seen them do that but I greatly admire their song.

  2. It sounds like a relaxing and fruitful weekend.
    The birds in the picture are beautiful. I have never seen ones like them where I live. Most birds we see around our neighborhood are either black, gray, or brown.

    1. Romi I know that feeling! They are all pretty interesting though.

  3. Congratulations on the gentle receptiveness that led to this exciting breakthrough!
    Thank you for the insight on dreamstorming. I love it.

  4. There really is a restorative thing that happens when you're away from electronics for a while. I think I need to go on a cruise to get a break from all of it for a week!

    1. Yes and the timing was perfect--right after A to Z I needed a rest.

  5. While I am on my phone reading this, your message is not lost on me. Love the technique you shared. I will have to try. I love my index cards :)

    1. LOL Conlee! Yes, I love index cards too, they are very helpful.

  6. I also have family in Michigan. :) Unplugging sound wonderful! I wish I could do it but I can't right now. Some weekend I'm going to have to do it. I've never written in a library before. I go to one almost every week, but I never have the time to sit and write there. That's something else I'll have to do one of these days.

    1. Yes, both ideas work nicely. Judging from your post on the challenges of April, maybe sooner than later?

  7. Beautiful post Stephanie! Love the pictures. Some places do that to you. The sheer beauty of nature brings out the best in you. I can relate to the times it is vital to shut out the cacophony and be with yourself.

    By the way, I have a small suggestion, if you don't mind. I feel you will encourage more people to leave comments here if you remove the captcha option. I did it for my own blog after someone pointed it out and saw the difference.

    1. Thanks Vinodini! Glad you are enjoying the pictures. I am hoping to return to this Midwestern retreat this summer. Unplugging is great. I'm trying to do it more. Quiet is very welcome. I will consider getting rid of the captcha. You aren't the first one to ask. It's just that I've been spammed a lot, hacked and spoofed. Those things make me reluctant to go that take down the walls.


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