Roadblocks: Or that Time I Ran Over a Python

Cave painting at Ubir, Australia

Let me tell you a little something about roadblocks: they aren’t really like writers’ block, although I guess you could count that as one.  Roadblocks can take any shape—in your mind or elsewhere.  Right now, I have hit a road block with my writing.

…Did I ever tell you about the time that I hit a python?  It was just after dusk, and we were rambling along the red dirt road from Ubir, where we had just watched the sunset.  If you’ve ever been to the Australian Outback, you probably have some idea of what the terrain is like: flat, red and full of creepy crawlies.  You are not supposed to go night driving in a rental caravan, say the rangers.  Being young, foolish and eager to soak up as much sights as we could, we went driving at night.  The roads were quiet for a long time before we heard the noise:

THUMP.

It could have been a speed bump.  Peering out of the window, I blinked.  Speed bumps don’t writhe around.  Nor are they a pale, creamy white with yellow spots.  Or maybe they are in some places, but I’ve never heard a speed bump hiss.

Turning back to my husband, the driver, I said “That wasn’t a speed bump.”

“Oh,” he said.  “So what was it?”

“A snake.”

In comparison to other roadblocks, a snake is an unlikely one to encounter, but encounter it we did.  The thing about roadblocks is this: most of the time, they are in your head.

Five Ways to Get Around a Roadblock:

  1. Get a writing buddy who keeps you accountable: for me it is my cat, Salem, who bites my feet when I stop typing.  True story! (Or sometimes my husband, who bribes me with food).
  2. Meditate
  3. Do Yoga
  4. Record yourself talking: maybe you are a secret genius and you will surprise yourself with what you hear.
  5. Take a shower: things getting kind of chilly in the brain department? Take a warm shower.  At the very least, you’ll smell nice and fresh.

So what did I do with my roadblock? Maybe the PETA people won’t like this very much, but we just kept on driving.  After all, when there is an angry snake outside your car, do you really want to go outside?  Or do you tell yourself “I’ll do better next time” and keep on driving?

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