Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Writer’s Block – Like Smashing Wasps

Wasp Nest I found this wasp’s nest under my eaves on Sunday. I was stunned by its size…completely amazed at how fast this thing got there.

Suddenly, I was facing a very unpleasant experience. How was I going to get this thing down without a zillion stings? (And believe me, I know what a zillion wasp stings feel like–ask me later.)

The Husband of Awesome™ and I dithered over what to do. We had some wasp and hornet spray, but using it meant getting within 20 feet of the nest, according to the can. Was that far enough away?

We could try shooting from the upstairs window. Very awkward.

Not only that, we’d used this spray on tiny nests, beginners, if you will. Would it work on something this big?

We considered knocking the nest off with a broom, again from the upstairs window. This would mean shoving the entire broom out the window and swatting at the nest with little leverage. And what if we knocked that nest into the window?

With one good swipe, we might be able to drop both nest and broom to the deck below and slam the window against angry wasps. Could we do it?

Are you seeing how this relates to writing, and more specifically, writer’s block?

For me, getting through writer’s block has always been about knowing where I want the story to end up…and just maneuvering to get there. I don’t have to know all the details to keep the story flowing and the words coming.

Here was an interesting twist: I had my ending (So long, wasp’s nest!) but I was blocked by the consequences of what my actions could cause. Paralyzed by indecision. There were so many possibilities, I didn’t know which was best or most appropriate. Have you encountered this problem with your writing?

Here’s what we did about the wasps:

  1. We waited until 11 p.m. (hoping the cooler air would make the wasps more sluggish) and used the spray from the upstairs window.
    • This resulted in some VERY ANGRY wasps. (Do you know the sound of a zillion wasps rumbling within the confines of their own nest? Frightening. And louder than you might imagine.) They poured out of the nest like gasoline. It was all we could do to shut the window.
  2. We learned that 5:00 in the morning is cooler than 11:00 p.m. (Duh.) and decided to give the spray a chance from the deck below.
    • This resulted in some less-than-stellar results. The spray mostly dissipated into a cloud about 10 feet from the can as the propellant lacked the oomph to reach the eaves. The narrow stream of insecticide that reached the wasps only served to rally them. Coolness was obviously not an issue.
  3. We abandoned the broom idea, even after examining all the brooms we own and choosing the heavy-duty push broom from the garage.
    • I really wanted to try it, but the Husband of Awesome™ didn’t relish the idea of spending the morning in the ER with me…

And that’s when he got a brilliant idea. Why not use the hose?

And there was the answer to the writing dilemma…when multiple possibilities loom, try them all. (I attempted all ideas, even the “bad” one. After all, the broom had been considered, approved, chosen, and carried to the window…) What’s the cost of writing it all to see which works best…some words tried and discarded? Time lost doesn’t count: it’s a wash when compared to what may be lost in indecision.

Working through all the possibilities gets the creative juices flowing. In the midst of apparent defeat, a new idea may be, as ours was, formulated, considered, and executed.

The next time I’m faced with similar writing circumstances, I’m going to write each possibility to see which one fits the situation the best. I hope that doing so leads me to that final possibility: the one I hadn’t considered at first (or even thought of) but is the right one to conclude the situation.

Decimated Wasp's Nest
So long, wasps!

7 comments to Writer’s Block – Like Smashing Wasps

  • Steve Southard

    Tough problem, and elegant solution! And you even related it to writing!
    I was trimming bushes Saturday and ended up angering some wasps who had their hive in the very bush I was trimming. They were, apparently, unaware of or unconcerned with the fact that I own the property and they don’t. (They occupied a much smaller hive than the one you contended with.) We bought the spray and used it in the evening–the wasps were very sluggish then. They’re dead now, having been taught one of two important lessons: either the legal standing of property owners, or the effectiveness of wasp spray.
    – Steve

  • Great job, Ms. Heroine! And truly mortifying photo. Brilliant to relate it to writing.

    Hope to see you again, soon.

  • Sue

    Enjoyed reading how you solved your problem and related it to your writing. It seems that I can relate that to other problems in my life and use it as a solving tool also! Thanks for the idea.

  • Hi Lemony Renee! Thanks for stopping by. I don’t know how heroic I was, the Husband of Awesome™ wielded the hose! (Did you know wasp nests smell sweet? I had no idea until I started to clean the thing up…yummy…but gross.)

  • Hi Sue! It’s so nice to see you here. I’m glad you can apply the “smashing wasp theory” to other issues. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I did not know wasps nets smell sweet. Thank you, so much, for clearing that up. Now I can sleep at night. b-l-i-c-k! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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