Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Janice L. Dick

When our kids were young, one gift we gave them was a little car that flipped over on contact with an obstacle, and then continued on in another direction. An interesting concept.

My mother used to have a vacuum cleaner that looked like a little round robot. When switched on, it would proceed until it reached a barrier, then change direction until it was free to move ahead again. The idea was that the robot would eventually clean every part of the floor.

The car was fun to watch, but the vacuum cleaner wasn’t very efficient.

The theory behind both the toy and the robot, however, is fascinating: move forward until you meet an obstacle, and then continue on in another direction.

I often run into obstacles in my writing; barriers like writer’s block, lack of time (read: poor use of time), difficult plot issues. My response is often to whine, or to throw my hands up in despair. Maybe I need to be a little more like the toy car and the vacuum cleaner and try another tack. It may take something as small as a nap or a walk outside to renew my perspective. Perhaps a change in genre is the ticket. Whatever the case, we should not let obstacles stop us from moving ahead in our writing.

Adaptability is as much a key to writing as it is to life.

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