Stuck

If you get stuck, draw with a different pen.” Paul Arden

“I don’t understand how you can start with so much stuff and when you get to the middle, you can’t think of anything else.” She’s sitting in the passenger seat, her hands open and flapping as a frustrated bird might do in an attempted take off. We’ve just set off for the science centre.

So what do you do?” I ask. I’ve got two others in the back seat I’m keeping an eye on because they have a propensity to argue when they sit too close to each other. The roads are icy and the traffic is backed up because of an accident. I need to pay attention, yet I want to hear how she tackles this problem of hers. It’s mine too.

“I go over it again and again to see if I get any ideas.”

“Does that help?”

“Sometimes. But what really helps is to just keep thinking about it. When an idea comes to my head, I make notes, I don’t give up.”

She’s ten and a budding novelist and artist. I’m her 100-year-old (according to her) grandmother, and stuck at the moment too (and I’m not talking about the traffic). She’s reminded me to go back to the page. It’s been scary to do that lately. Nothing seems to come, nothing useable anyway.

The traffic has eased a bit. She looks at me. “It’s the only thing I can do. There are no other tricks to getting the story done. Right?”

“Right.”

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