As you might imagine, the experience can be a mental obstacle course, with plenty of walls to get over. That’s code for running out of things to say and the energy to generate the work.
But a recent eleven days on the North Carolina coast re-enthused my inspiration.
Sometimes we need new raw material to dwell on when creating.
There’s a point on the seven hour trip from Johnson City to Kure Beach when the mountains vanish. Appalachia melts away into a flatness that creeps up and is suddenly alien. It signals something drastic has happened geographically, topographically. Even culturally.
Drive long enough east and all the senses solve the mystery. Salt air. New species of flora and fauna. A morphing of accent. Names of towns. Then the immeasurable ocean staring your mortality in the face. The constancy of water beating the sand.
This is the sort of new material we need as a jolt to the senses when we’re hitting the wall in our writing.
I’m still “riding the wave,” so to speak. The coast: beaches, sand, the sound of waves. The land of flatness. It’s all a different planet than the mountainous dwelling I usually run in. Upper-East Tennessee provides a world all its own. Just as your unique world does.
We need to get out of our comfortable worlds on a regular basis. Breath new and challenging air.
I remember the first time I traveled to Arizona and the desert. I exited the filtered and false environment of the plane into the filtered and false environment of the indoor airport at Tucson. I had no idea what to expect. I exited the building through the automatic double-doors and was hit in the face with that “dry” hundred-degree heat along with that distinct desert scent. My senses overloaded. It was so foreign to me. Pleasurable, yes. Stunning. I was instantly in love with the desert. And I’ll never forget that first, literal, in-my-face experience.
When I write of my desert times I start back at that first assault on the senses, when I fell in love with that new world for me, something I could have never done just reading about the desert, about Arizona and New Mexico. Of Mexico. Of Death Valley. Vegas. The Yuma dunes. The graves of Boot Hill at Tombstone.
Hitting a wall with your writing? Get out of your literal comfort zone. Travel somewhere that changes the raw material you depend upon, be that a thousand miles away or ten miles down the road.