Quite often, I find symbolism in routine things. It's sortof my job.
I've been struggling these past few weeks to overcome writer's block. Never had it before. Don't like it. Wish it would go away. For three weeks, I've stared at a blank screen and hoped something--anything--would start to flow again.
Then I fixed my sewing machine and the words started to come. Slowly, but they are coming nonetheless.
How do the two relate? I'm not entirely sure, to be honest. I was making a card, adding stitching as a finishing touch, and my sewing machine started to thunk with each rotation of the needle. As the daughter of a home-ec teacher, I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that the majority of my sewing (as in 99.9%) is on cards rather than clothing. I might not use the machine the way it was originally intended, but that doesn't mean I don't know a machine requires oiling now and again.
I pulled out the oil, Googled how to apply it, took my machine apart, and greased the gears.
Here's where the symbolism comes in. You don't add oil to everything, just where it's required. With writing, I know I can't get too bogged down with editing until after the story is finished. Easier said than done for a former English teacher who loves her red pen. When I get stuck, my first instinct is to edit, edit, and edit some more. At least I'm doing something, right? But that's like oiling the foot pedal of a sewing machine. It might be a moving part, but putting oil on it only makes a mess on your floor. You're doing something, yes, it's just not helping.
Maybe oiling the sewing machine freed something up in my brain. Maybe having to really concentrate on an unfamiliar task fired up neurons so my left brain is talking to my right brain again. Or maybe it was simply time for my writer's block to expire. All I know is I took a step back, put down my red editing pen, and focused on what needed help--character motivations.
And away we go...
Until next time,