When my characters get stubborn, or too demanding, and I can’t figure out what would be the worst possible thing to do to them, I walk. When I lived in North Carolina, it was easy to steal a quick fifteen minutes from their demanding attitudes, and settle our issues offline…so to speak.
Things are different in North Dakota. Not as hectic as the chaos of the Raleigh/Cary area, but, oh, there’s movement and lots of it. Wind. The stuff never quits, and in the winter, hearty gusts are accompanied by snow, sleet, and all manner of body-numbing atrocities. Winter, by the way, lasts until May. As a fairly new transplant from the south, I’ve been hiding from North Dakota winters, ignoring the pleas of my characters to puh-leeze get out and move so I can hear what they’re trying to tell me.
But I couldn’t hide forever, not from the insistent voices of my characters, and definitely not from the bathroom mirror.
My Big Jeans had reached an uncomfortable snugness when the epiphany hit. I got on a friend’s treadmill. Oh, I’d had gym memberships, gone the route of aerobic classes, step classes, and all that sort of thing, but never touched the…machines. Too big, too heavy, too intimidating, and you had to go to a gym where people watched while they waited for their turn with the monsters. But alone in my friend’s house with the treadmill—pure joy.
My husband, sweetheart that he is, tried to drag me to the YMCA. Not one of his better moves, but he made up for it and came through with a Nordictrack. Best Valentine’s Day present, ever, never mind that it arrived in April. It resides in the basement, and we’ve become BFF’s. If I’m stuck on a plot point, need to listen to, or argue with my characters, I hit the treadmill and walk it out. Doesn’t matter if there’s twenty inches of snow in the driveway because I have my machine. And smaller jeans.
What do you do when the literary, or other, doldrums strike?
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