Writing my wrongs
Posted by Oli on Wednesday 13th December, 2006
I’ve been making myself chuckle this afternoon as my procrastination levels increase. In fact, I’ve found a whole writers self-help website devoted to aiding folks like me to get down to the nitty-gritty of actually churning something out.
The last couple of nights I’ve hardly slept at all. Monday night I was up until around 3am before finally dozing off, sleeping through till 11am save for an hour’s break in the middle around 6am to do much IVs. Last night was worse – I didn’t manage to sleep at all until after my morning dose.
Oddly, it doesn’t appear to be your regular, run-of-the-mill, thinking-horrible-thoughts kind of insomnia. Rather, it’s just that as I improve health-wise my brain is staying resolutely five strides ahead of my body. So while I can’t do much physically during the day, my brain is aching to be put to use and if it’s not (as it hasn’t been) then it settles itself into manic thinking patterns when I hit the sack and keeps me wide awake, no matter how much my eyelids beg to differ.
So today I have been resolutely trying my best to a) stay awake all day and not take my usual afternoon nap and b) do things with my day that will make my mind feel like it’s had if not a real work out, at least a little bit of a gentle jog.
It struck me when I was writing out my Christmas cards this afternoon that getting myself writing would be the most obvious method of productive mind-occupation, so I set that part of my brain that never stops whirring creatively to spin on ahead whilst I wrote, corrected and re-wrote the cards that kept being incorrectly filled in due to my non-multi-tasking man-brain.
Perhaps what I needed by way of a spur, I figured, was to tackle a branch of writing I’ve not tackled before – something different and fresh and intriguing to me. I’ve written plays and I’ve written screenplays – I’ve even finished some of them, too. So why not try something more narrative – a short story or similar?
In fact, it was the Stephen King interview I watched yesterday evening that provided my spark of inspiration – if I wanted to stir my creative brain and really test my mettle, why not try what writers used to do when they needed to churn something out (albeit usually for the cash than the creative momentum) and knock out a classic piece of pulp fiction?
Pulp fiction is that stuff that used to be known as Dime-Store Novels in the US and is more commonly known these days as Airport Fiction – that kind of crime-based, semi-plotted, under-characterised pap that you whistle through when you’re lying on the beach in the summer months trying not to remember that it’s only four more days till you’re back at work.
What better, I thought, than to pin myself down to knocking something out which needn’t have any literary merit at all, but merely serve as an exercise to show that a) I can still write and b) I can make myself focus on one thing for at least the space of time it takes me to write a chapter or two.
Of course, we all know that my mind doesn’t work like that. Instead, I set off researching into pulp fiction and it’s current place in the literary world: is it still written, published, sold around the world? Could I, conceivably, sell my mini-opus for publication when I’m done with it?
And research it I did. I even answered most of my questions. Which was annoying because it meant I had to come up with more questions so I didn’t have to actually start writing.
Surfing through the myriad writers’ websites dotted around the ‘net, I came across various tips for getting into good writing habits and avoiding said procrastination. Eventually, I discovered an entire website devoted to a 30-day programme to help writers get organised and write.
That’s right: a 30-DAY PROGRAMME. That’s an entire month’s worth of tips and exercises designed so that, at the end of the allotted period, you’re set to go write your masterpiece. 30 (Thirty) Days. To get organised. To AVOID procrastination. It’s so funny, I can’t even do it justice with a smart-arsed quip.
Needless to say, I shall be sticking point-by-point the programme and ensuring that I don’t achieve ANYTHING by way of productivity before the New Year. After all, if I don’t pay attention to the site I found, all my hard research work from today will have been for nothing, won’t it?