As I’m writing this, I’m only been back for a couple of days from a very short little vacation. I purposefully did NOT take my laptop along, thinking that that would force me to get out and shoot more photos, which is my primary creative outlet. And then they asked if I would be willing to check in my carry on to make more space, and I agreed to be nice, not thinking that this put my books in the cargo hold. So there I was, sitting by the window looking forward to a two and a half hour flight alone with nothing to do.
My salvation came in the form of a small notebook I had tucked into my purse to hold things like my hotel reservation and emergency phone numbers. That combined with a pencil transformed into a wonderful diversion.
When I set out on this trip, I was fighting anxiety. I’d travelled alone before, but those times someone else had helped plan, was waiting for me at the other end, and/or was there to catch me if I massively screwed up. But I was determined to do it, and I did! With a little help from the people in my head, as usual. This time the prime candidate for alter ego was a young lady named Amelie, who at one point in her story travels half way around the world, alone, for an uncertain new job. So I settled into my seat, and set Amie in my head, thinking that if nothing else I could daydream and collect flying experiences for her story.
Instead I ended up pulling out that notebook, and Amelie wrote all the way to St. Petersberg. She wrote about how nervous she was to be taking this trip. She wrote about what she hoped to find when she got to her destination. She wrote about why she was leaving home in the first place. She wrote about bubblegum. And clouds, her seatmates, how cold the floor was. Things she saw looking out that window at a land that was new to her.
I read over everything later, when I was safely on the ground, and was amazed. I hadn’t even known I’d known some of those things about her! Had I known that her sister was a worrywart, and that she always ran to her grandmother for cookies and comfort? Had I realized before then how much resentment she held towards her former employer? Maybe I had but had never needed to express it. Maybe I hadn’t, and it had grown right then, somewhere over Ohio.
Is there a point to this? I’m not sure, it was just a story I wanted to tell. But hey, if you ever get stuck, maybe this would work for you. Have your character write a diary entry to themselves. Outside the story, just for fun. You might be surprised by what they tell you.