(Sparked by Amanda Patterson’s lovely article on “Writers Write”.)
For those of you who believe in “Writer’s Block” (not the type you are supposed to take everywhere with you so you can quickly scribble ideas down on it), here are some prime ways of procrastinating on getting stuck back into that story (that is, frankly, boring you a little and you don’t really know how to fix it).
- Make coffee.
- While you’re at it, wash a sinkful of dishes, put on some laundry. Check in the fridge.
- Take the coffee back to your computer, put it where you normally put it;
- play a game of Mahjjong (or if you’re still on Windows, FreeCell or Spider Solitaire).
- Open mailbox. Check. No new emails.
- Play another round of Mahjjong or Spider Solitaire.
- Or two.
- Studiously avoid looking at that little folder icon on your desktop that has the name of your story on it.
- Go online, check what is happening on Facebook. (This will keep you busy for a long time!)
- Read some blogs, write some blogs, comment on some blogs.
- Close the internet; get back to Mahjjong (or because you are by now frustrated, Quadrapassel / Tetris).
- Get really frustrated; play two rounds of Mine Sweeper.
- Make yourself another coffee.
- Check in the fridge. While you’re procrastinating, also procrastinate on defrosting and cleaning it out.
- Get back to the computer.
- Open that icon (AT LAST! sighs your main character)
- Look at the tail end of the story.
- Go back several chapters. Read.
- Giggle to yourself at the good scenes. Skip over the bad ones (you’re supposed to be editing but we’re procrastinating, remember.)
- (and while we’re at it, check if someone answered to your blog.
- Check your emails again.
- Get yourself another coffee, promising yourself that it’s the last one tonight.
- Check the fridge. No cookies have yet materialized. (Cookies? In the fridge? Procrastination doesn’t need to be logical.) Go back to the computer.
- Read more where you left off.
- By now you are tired. Tomorrow is a work day, so be sensible and go to sleep.
This is Writer’s Block: The unwillingness to solve your own problem.
(EDIT: This is nothing! A versed procrastinator practices by procrastinating on doing his budget and tax returns…)
HOW TO TACKLE IT (seriously):
- Get away from the keyboard. Yes, I mean that! Take a notebook (A6) and your favourite gel pen, and go somewhere. Whether this is to a coffee place or to the park for the green trees, doesn’t matter.
- Summarize what is happening in the story and why; and where it’s going.
- Note down what you need to reverse (cut away) and what you want to include.
- When you are properly rested and had a “reality break”, get back to the keyboard, straight to that little icon; ignore the emails, the Facebook, the blogs and Mahjjong, and get right to the tail end of the story.
- Do the edits you need to do.
Remember what your teachers told you in grade school: When writing an essay, employ all 5 senses.
“The coffee smelled like coffee smells all over the world…” LOL. (Rowling-style)