A Good Walk, Ruined

I’ve had a good week in terms of writing (though less successful regarding payment-chasing). Unfortunately my working patterns have shifted somewhat, and it’s had an impact on my productivity.

What’s to blame?

Geocaching.

A friend mentioned this digital-treasure-hunting activity to me quite a while ago, and it was a chance post on a forum that reminded me of it. I checked out geocaching.com and saw, to my surprise, I lived in a cache-hot-spot. There were dozens of the things! I got a free app for my phone (c:geo) and set out to harvest my finds.

Nothing. Not a thing. It took me a few days of head scratching to even work out what I was looking for. Once I’d started to think like a cacher, it got easier. In fact, I bagged three this afternoon.

Here’s the problem. I’m a productive writer. (Total words to date this month? Nearly 50,000 but that’s a mix of fiction and journalism.) I can maintain this kind of output because I do all the plotting and planning in my head, while I’m engaged in other physical activities. Ironing is particularly good for unblocking stuck stories. I tend to work for a few hours, then go out on my bike for a few more hours, and when I get back, I can sit down and get back to work at a fast pace because I’ve been turning it all over in my head.

The bad weather has scuppered me. I am scared of ice. Since going sideways down Winter Hill (clue’s in the name, perhaps) I’ve just been terrified of hitting hidden patches on corners. Living on the moors, just ten miles from where that poor lad died recently in a snowdrift, I just haven’t been confident enough to get out there. Geocaching seemed a great solution – I would be out, walking, and finding things too!

The problem is that following the GPS, deciphering clues, and finding my way has taken all my brain space and I don’t get any story-thinking done.

I went out this afternoon and discovered a stone circle I didn’t know about. But I didn’t come home with any ideas – just the elation of finding three caches (and the frustration of missing one).

Roll on the warmer weather and I can get back to long, rambling bike rides.

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