Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How I Write: Confessions of a Procrastinator

Side-tracked? Moi? I could procrastinate for England.

Yet another morning wasted on all those seemingly essential tasks which get in the way of the real job in hand - WRITING. But I am smug, I am satisfied that at least one small corner of our loft now looks much, much, much tidier than it did this time last week. That wasn't a waste of time, was it?

And that jolly hour spent yesterday going through the recipe collection - and we are talking a serious pile here - seeking inspiration for a starter to impress Saturday's dinner guests. Not to mention the mouth-wateringly fun time spent repeating the exercise on the Internet.

I comfort myself in the knowledge that I am by no means alone in finding excuses for not tackling the serious business of writing in a more disciplined way. Successful, published authors of best-sellers have admitted as much. They'd rather do anything than sit in front of that computer screen or typewriter and earn their living.

Maybe that's my problem: I don't actually have to write to earn a living. I had a secretarial, not a journalistic training, so perhaps can be forgiven for my cavalier approach. I have, however, read enough about the serious business of writing and the complicated range of techniques it demands to want to continue with the challenge of some day, one day, being able to produce that perfect piece of prose.

English Vivace

A large part of what I call "writing time" is, in fact, "thinking time". Walking the dog; doing the ironing; peeling potatoes: they are all activities which do not require great intellectual skill. The brain can go into standby mode and let the imagination take over. Simply sitting and staring at a blank computer screen will not invoke my stubborn muse.

Therefore, to give an honest answer to the question "How do I write?" I suppose I must sum it up as a collection of adverbs: spasmodically, occasionally, whimsically, reluctantly, erratically, lazily, chaotically, but I hope also passionately, sincerely and seriously. And above all, because when I have been able to put words together creatively, nothing beats the satisfaction of typing


© MWD 2011

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