Saturday, 23 March 2013

Comfort Zones and Forethought


 Go on take that step.

 I remember attending the late Lou Tice's course 'Investment in Excellence' and he used the example of walking across one of the tables in the conference room. It was a couple of metres long and about a metre wide. He asked the group if anyone would have a problem with that and everyone agreed that it wouldn't be a test. Lou then suggested you put the table 300 feet in the air. People were not as confident. Logically there shouldn't be any difference but logic has little to do with situations where people are involved.

 Recently a scheme to introduce chess in primary schools has been started. I remember that I learned to play chess when I first started at grammar school in 1961. The idea is to develop the children's 'forethought' which will help them in problem solving.


'A book is a friend that does what no friend can do - stay quiet when you want to think!'

When I write my novels I quite often use the strategy of pushing Steele outside his comfort zone and then develop his personality by describing how he reacts. Similarly, when Steele is planning action, what else does he use but 'forethought'? 

I know I wasn't talking about writers' block but I was intrigued to hear Rod Stewart say that he'd had it for 20 years! That must have been hell! He was talking about writing songs which is something I'd dabbled in on a comedy level 20 years ago. Perhaps he couldn't stand the competition! If I'd known I would have had a go at helping him! How big-headed is that?

 Rod Stewart

In reality I think writing does not have blocks but hurdles. If you grind to a halt in your writing perhaps you should just extend your forethought on the page to where you want your characters to go next. A little extra description, try reading Dickens or Victor Hugo, may oil the wheels once again. If I feel stuck in any way I think about the situations I've created from the viewpoint of the other characters and it works. There is another mantra that I've used and pinched from a film I watched recently - Patrick Steele allows me to do on the page what I can't do in real life! 

God Bless