A Blizzard of Words – Plowing Yourself Out of a Writing Rut

Well, it snowed yesterday.

How bad did it snow?

Let me show you a picture. After all, a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words.

Halifax, Jan. 3, 2014

Not much you can add to that photo. It came down hard – maybe 40 cm. of snow all told.

Heck, it IS winter, isn’t it?

So this morning I rolled out of bed and prepared myself a hearty breakfast. A pork chop, some pan-fried veggies and a heap of hash browns. Two slices of rocks & twigs toast, heavily buttered. A tall glass of water to hydrate myself. A cup of strong black coffee to stir up the inner fire.

These days I shovel in shifts. I’ll go for a bit and then I’ll come in and take a breather.

Here’s what our driveway looked like after the first round of digging.

Car Jan. 4, 2014 001

The worst part of it was the end of the driveway where the plow had crammed the snow chest deep.

Car Jan. 4, 2014 002That heap wasn’t QUITE as bad as it looks. It did get smaller on the other side.

Here’s a side-on view.

Car Jan. 4, 2014 003Well, it took me six hours of digging but now the end of the driveway looks like this.

Car Jan. 4, 2014 005And the driveway itself looks like this.

Car Jan. 4, 2014 006

(And yes – our car DOES have a red nose. And we call her Goldie)

As you can see the sun came out today and once I got the driveway scraped down to pavement a couple of bags of road salt worked their wonderful magic.

Some folks might say that I am a bad man for using salt – but they can just talk to my aching back.

* * *

So – what’s this got to do with writing?

Well, sometimes a manuscript can look an awful lot like that snowed-in driveway. A part of you will cringe at all of that work that lies ahead. A part of you will suddenly see a need to watch your entire collection of Bonanza episodes – all 430 of them.

Do not listen to Lorne Greene.

Step away from that horse, pilgrim.

It’s time for a little elbow grease. Start the shovel swinging and the words a’flinging.

(who said old farts can’t rap?)

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

9 responses to “A Blizzard of Words – Plowing Yourself Out of a Writing Rut

  1. Steve, this is funny. Thanks for the giggle. Now … gotta get back to shoveling words on a page … while a silly tune titled “Deadline Blues” (my own invention) rolls around in my head.


  2. All across Nova Scotia, many people got their fill of exercise today. The snow blew off the hayfield and filled in the gateway to the barns. It was four feet on each side of the gates. Yesterday I simply climbed over the fences to feed and water, but this morning…well, I had to bite the shovel. The donkey can’t reach her gate, but she does have half her yard blown down to the bare ground. I shovelled only a path narrow enough for me to walk through the drift that’s almost up to my shoulders.

    I think I watched every episode of Bonanza while growing up at least once, and I’ve heard that song before.

    We can’t use salt because of the animals (mostly the ducks and chickens that go all over the yard), but we do use sand. I would use salt, but…

    On the bright side, winter is just getting started. 🙂


  3. I think I watch Bonanza and leave the shoveling to someone else. Maybe a bit of writing thrown into the mix wouldn’t hurt either.


  4. I loved this. It made me chuckle but it’s also very pertinent. Many are the times when I look at the pile of snow… actually what am I talking about, I’m a Mum, every book looks like a huge pile of snow because they take about two years to write!

    I hope you escape more snow but if you don’t happy shovelling!




    • Word by word will do the trick. Like snowflakes slowly piling up outside…


      • That’s pretty much what I do. Head down tap at the keyboard and then before I know it, it’s two years later and I’ve a new book. Just to be capricious I should have two out this year, which is nice. 😉

        Thank you for the reblog, I hope your back is feeling better after all that shovelling.




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