Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I’m forever finding ways to procrastinate. Sometimes they’re genuine and other times … well they’re not. Yesterday I had the whole day to write and there was no artwork due, nothing else I had to do. I looked at my screen most of the day, fiddling. I toyed with tidying my desk to accommodate my new scanner. I need to replace my contact lenses; need my hair cut, but I haven’t got time, I’ve got to write. I am not writing. I finished Julia Bell’s Dirty Work (loved it); watched a bit of crappy TV, and then out of sheer boredom I began to think about writing.

This story just will not go away. My not writing would be so easy if the story just slipped out of my head, but it’s demanding to be written, and it’s nagging away at me. I can’t get away from it. It’s clamouring at me like a child with verbal diarrhoea. Every now and again I realise – often out of desperation to stop the din in my head – if I just wrote it, it might leave me alone.

I was due out at the Bangkok Women’s Writers Group last night, but with nothing to share, what is the point? I’m not a writer if I’m not writing. I went out anyway, to sit in Starbucks with my planning folder. I bought some coloured index cards, in the stationery shop, and this is the bag they gave me. (What does it mean – apart from someone needs some grammar lessons? Was it a message for me?)

I gave each of the four sub/plots a different colour card and I began to scribble on them, ideas for all the conflicts, scenes, dialogue, with all the characters. Today I am taking my bag of index cards, my planning folder, my folder with the 25,000 words that need rewriting, all my notes etc. I am going to get my contact lenses organised and then I’m going to spend the day out in coffee shops to write all ideas on index cards. Then I will assemble them into some sort of order and start writing.

I am seeing my UK trip as a sort of deadline: a get writing deadline or quit this pretending to write thing.


Carol and Chris said...

Honey you are a writer!! You've already written 25,000 words - ok you may have started in the wrong place but you did write those words!!You've also been working on a number of articles....that's writing too!! (It may not be novel writing but it's still writing - try not to be so hard on yourself!!)

C x

Lane said...

Oi take 'quit' out of your labels missy!

Have a good coffee shop day. Hope you get your plots organised and then write ..... you've got a deadline now:-)

Yvonne said...

I am struggling with writer's block too at the moment, I just keep writing but I know the story is going no-where. But luckily I got several ideas on how to fix the beginning so that it flows better, and I'm going to print it out and mark it up where these fixes should come in. My point is that I have to fix the structure before I can write more of the story. What you did yesterday was still writing, even though it doesn't feel like it. You're getting ready, doing your research, looking at the story from all angles. That's as much a part of writing as contributing to the story itself. You can do it!

KAREN said...

No quitting! If the story won't go away then it needs to be told.

Use that deadline!! :o)

SueG said...

Whatever works.....I find fear of humiliation is a great motivator too :-)

SpiralSkies said...

Blimey, you are so hard on yourself! Empathise completely with how you're feeling - I bet you feel really down on yourself at the end of the day when the words haven't been committed to paper or screen.

At least you've realised that you're going to be tormented until you just get on and write the bloomin thing.

You bag means that you've got the idea, you just need to make sense of it. You don't need a deadline, you just need to do a little bit, every day.

We're sooo rooting for you but only because we know you can do it.

JJ said...

Thanks Carol. They won't all be wasted either.

Lane, oh I nearly did with that tone in your voice.

Yvonne, I don't know that it's block exactly, it's just ... I've just got to get on and do it and stop talking about it. You're right though, what I am doing (for I am doing it now) is writing. I appear to be one of those that needs a fairly firm plan - maybe only at this stage - or maybe all the way through. Who knows?

Karen, Yes, you're right. That's what I'm going to do.

SueG, funny that, isn't it? That motivates me a bit too - or rather the power from having done it. Positive visualisation!

Jen, yup. I do have the ideas, I just need to sort them out and that's what I am doing now!

Thanks for the support everyone.