Summer break hit me over the head in May when my son came home from his freshman year of college. Do you know that kids come home with three times as much as took with them? It’s some kind of physics/calculus equation that accounts for the phenomenon, I’m sure of it. And the extra goods and laundry are disproportionate in size to the amount of time said college student child is willing to take to deal with said mess. I mean, belongings.
Anyway — add to that the high schooler who was around as of the onset of June, then started summer school, driver’s ed and varied lessons and what you have is me — a writer with her own very reliable schedule blown to bits. I sat at my desk, worked on projects for clients. All deadlines were met. My bills were paid. The dogs were fed. The kids were reluctantly regaled into episodes of family amusement. But when it came to my writing, well, it just wasn’t the same. My desk seemed smaller than before. Messier. Insufficient. I considered going to a coffee shop. Too noisy. I considered the library. Too quiet. I needed a place to go where I could find my groove again — I had a novel to finish revising, right? I mean, how could I be writing a short story one day, revising a novel, making notes on another novel and and still have the ideas flowing and then fidget in my ergonomic chair and have the heebie jeebies overtake my limbs? This was not a case of writer’s block. There was no blockage.
So where had my groove gone?
When I lose my groove, I am pretty sure it heads to Paducah.
Funny thing, my groove is not like my keys or my glasses or my iPhone. It is not in the last place I look. Retracing my steps does not help at all. My writing groove resurfaces when I go someplace I’ve never been before. That’s right, writer friends. When it comes to my writing groove or mojo or inspiration or traction or whatever you want to call it, I found it when I ventured into unknown writing territory.
Weeks ago for no reason I carried my laptop into the kitchen. My groove, it seems, had been waiting there for me. Maybe it’s the proximity to snacks. Perhaps it’s the favorite art on the walls. Could be the expansive undesklike kitchen table. But you know what? It doesn’t matter.
It came back. That’s the thing about writers and their groove — it comes back. It comes back because we make it come back. Just needing it or wanting it to doesn’t work. You have to work it. To search and replace by hand every thing that does not work until something does.
I think that although this is a real life scenario it’s reminiscent of women’s fiction in the way that I found a solution that surprised me but that makes sense. It’s not unheard of to say a change of scenery changes everything, I just tend to think of that as meaning, you know, like a vacation. With a view. And a piña colada. And no dogs. And 24-hour room service. And a pool boy. With an accent.
But you get the idea.
If you lose your writing groove how do you get it back? Where do you go to get it back?
And, if there’s a view (and a pool boy) — next time would you save a seat for me?
I’ll bring my own groove, and the piña coladas.