We’ve all heard of the snowball effect, a self-perpetuating problem that increases without will. It is hard to stop it and the end result is usually an explosive destruction that obliterates everything within its immediate vicinity. Wading through the aftermath can take time, the rigorousness of clean-up operation is subject to the ability of the clean-up crew and as it was the clean-up crew that invariably started the ball rolling in the first place…
I get like that with my writing. It gets tired, then sluggish, its pace decreasing exponentially, until finally it grinds to a shuddering halt. Trying to push the train of thought along merely activates its stubbornness and then depression sets in. You try the tricks – walk, drive, do something else, work on another piece, read, watch tele – all the while telling yourself you’re finding solutions, you’re not procrastinating, you’re being constructive in a not-immediately-obvious way. The depression pulls you lower. The train is beginning to rust. Depression carries you further and further away. The snowball is growing in front of your eyes and you know the final crash will be terrible. In desperation you try to find other avenues of escape, you shelter your loved ones and try to remove yourself from them before you do or say something that push that snowball over the cliff edge to shatter onto their heads.
It took me a while to realise that my solution to the snowball problem has always been with me. It may not help push the train along, but the fierce blast of loving heat I experience with my family and friends melts that threatening snowball before it can grow to insurmountable proportions. They pull me out of my depressive funk and keep me afloat. I still have to find a way to shift the blockage, to get that train moving, but I’m not alone and that realisation has made all the difference to being able to write.
I hope you all find a blazing fire to melt your personal snowballs.