Friday, May 25, 2007

Solving Problems

Didn’t get to post yesterday. We got a heavy rain storm and lost Internet service. Tried over and over to get online, but couldn’t make the connection.

We seem to be getting a ton of rain lately. That’s good because this part of Texas was in dire need of rain – lakes twenty feet and more below average. Now we’re back up to normal. Later in the summer it’ll get super hot and dry, so getting the rain now will help.

We didn’t lose power during the storm, but it was strong enough that everything blinked, just long enough to set things to beeping and for all the lights, computers, and clocks to go off. After I went around re-setting the time on various clocks, I discovered the Internet was gone. At first, I thought maybe it was just my laptop – it’d been acting up earlier in the day and I’d had to reboot about three times. But I checked with my daughter who uses a Mac and she couldn’t connect either.

During the night, while I slept, I figured out the problem. The answer was simple. The Internet wasn’t out; I just hadn’t seen the way to correct the problem until I let my mind work on it.

Our house is wireless. I can take my laptop and work anywhere. What I hadn’t thought of was that there is one computer in the house that’s not wireless. That’s my husband’s PC, the main computer in the house, the one that is the hub for all the others, the one where the DSL hooks up. When I’d gone around resetting things, I hadn’t restarted his computer, which had blinked off along with the clocks. That broke the wireless connection. Duh.

This way of figuring out solutions to problems is not new to me, or to a lot of people I suspect. When I’m writing, I often hit snags. The solutions come to me either while I’m sleeping or in those few minutes before I fall asleep. The problem then becomes remembering them the next morning. There are even times when I can’t see what the character will do next or where the story is going, so I’ll lay down and let my mind roam. Our house before this one had a pool, and I would do the same type thing – I would get in the shallow end and walk back and forth, back and forth, exercising, but also thinking, imagining, letting ideas come to me.

You can pick your own way – walking on the treadmill, mowing the lawn, working in the garden, meditating, whatever. Sometimes when you hit a plot problem, the solution isn’t to think about the problem, but to not think, to let your subconscious work on it.

Now if the rain would just continue its light sprinkle and not become another gully washer. I have to finish packing and leave for College Station for the Brazos Writers’ The Business of Writing Conference. Last thing I need is for the rain to pour and the low water crossing at the entrance to our subdivision to become un-crossable. That’s one problem my mind can’t fix on its own.

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