Every writer has dealt with that massive, invisible beast that plants itself squarely on our desks, preferably in front of our computer screens, and leers at us in a mocking sort of way, just daring us to get anything accomplished. Sometimes this beast teams up with Facebook or another soul-sucking website and we lose hours without knowing where they’ve gone.
And our story sits tragically abandoned.
There are lots of ways to get around writer’s block. We all have our tried and true methods, so I thought I’d contribute a couple of mine.I don’t know about you, but sometimes (quite frequently, actually) I just need to get away from my work. And I don’t mean Facebook away or even read-a-good-book away. Those have their places (especially the latter). But little treats that allow me the sense of escape can make all the difference when it’s time to go back to the proverbial drawing board.
So here’s my first solution:
Get Lost. No, I’m not kidding or trying to be all philosophical. Leaving your desk, your house, your chaotic world behind and losing yourself in the outdoors can be incredibly soothing. You might be lucky enough to have a beautiful setting to explore right out your front door – city streets, rambling countryside, a dimly lit wood – or maybe you need to hop in the car and drive a little ways to find it. Either way, give it a try. Get a little lost on purpose and see what you find. And while you’re at it, bring a camera and try to find the beautiful, bizarre, and interesting things you normally miss when you’re out and about.
If you do take some photos, please post them on your blog and link them here so I can appreciate them too. I love seeing what others have discovered. A recent find of mine is this Chinese restaurant called Karen’s Unicorn. The name just makes me smile…
Now for your second escape from the dull monotony of a desk, a room, a house, a schedule. You’ve taken a walk, snapped some photos, and now you need a snack. This one should suit just about anyone, so long as you enjoy chocolate.
Have you ever felt like a delicious, home baked treat, but you just don’t have the time, inclination, or ingredients to make a complicated dessert? Don’t resign yourself to store bought snacks just yet! Before you settle back into your chair for a good one-on-one with your story, make yourself a five-minute chocolate cake.
I’m totally serious. Five minutes. And you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen (if you don’t, feel shame and go shopping immediately).
Chocolate Cake in a Mug
1 average sized mug
- 4 Tbs plain flour
- 4 Tbs white sugar
- 2 Tbs cocoa powder
- 1/2 beaten egg (yes, annoying, but just save the other half for another cake!)
- 3 Tbs milk
- 3 Tbs veggie oil
- Splash of vanilla extract (if you use imitation, you make me very sad)
- Handful of chocolate chips or any chunks of a good candy bar. Be creative! (I use broken pieces of Swiss baking chocolate because it’s actually cheap here)
In your mug, mix up the flour, sugar, and cocoa powder (I use a fork).
Add the beaten egg. (It will be a bit gummy. No worries!)
Add the milk and oil. (Now it looks like cake batter!)
Add a bit of vanilla.
Stir in your pieces of chocolate. You might simply sprinkle them on top to keep them from sinking to the bottom, but I actually kind of like the melty, chocolatey bottom of my cake. It’s up to you!
Stick your mug in the microwave. My golden time was 2 1/2 minutes on medium setting. You may find that more or less is needed. You do NOT want to overbake it! Fudgier is better. The cake will rise up over the top of the mug while baking and will then sink back down a bit. Fear not. This is normal.
(Warning: When you remove your mug of cake, your kitchen will begin to smell decadently of chocolate. It may draw other members of your household into your immediate vicinity, so be prepared to defend your treat, unless you plan to share – which would be silly.)
For an extra flair, you can sprinkle powdered sugar on top, like I did, because I had it lying around. Or maybe you have cool whip or vanilla ice cream available. If nothing else, at least grab a glass of milk.
Let it cool a bit before eating! Remember that microwaves bake from the inside out so the middle will be very, very hot.
Make your way back to your desk and return to your story in a much happier frame of mind. You took a beautiful walk. You have your very own fresh chocolate cake. And you have a story in the making.
P.S. – If you try the cake in a mug and vary it in some amazing way, please share!
P.P.S. – A happy birthday to my little sis who is celebrating her sweet sixteen today! Wish I could be there!