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The Enemy

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Ok, I’m going to be honest. I haven’t done any writing in weeks. Now I’m going to be brutally honest. I haven’t done any worthwhile writing since probably last year. Why? Because of the enemy.

I’ve recently been reading The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The main character in this is a writer and he notes that the first thing any writer learns is the art of procrastination. Both Matt and myself have talked about this before, but it is true, is it not? There is always something else to do. Something that takes priority over sitting down and torturously laying your soul out on paper.

But procrastination is The Enemy. Probably the most insidious enemy because it pretends to be your friend. Like Lucifer whispering in your ear saying, “It’s ok to put your writing off, and do something else. We all know writing does itself anyway…”

Or something.

It isn’t true though is it? Not by a long shot.

Climbing back on the Horse

Perhaps the worst thing is that the longer you put it off, the bigger that horse seems to get. Right now, I’m not looking at a horse, I’m looking at a behemoth. No way I can climb back on that, so why should I try? Well this is a pathetic excuse, and I feel pathetic for thinking it. But what are the options available? Well let’s make a list shall we, because we do so like lists!


It's a horse. That you have to get back up on. Sorry, it's the best I could come up with. Image courtesy of Marilyn Peddle.

  1. Baby steps. No brainer? Not really. Its all well and good saying, “ok, I’ll set a little bit of time aside each day/week to get a little writing done, and then build up from there”, but does this work in practice? I’m sure for some people it does. It’s like that gym metaphor. You can’t just do a marathon from scratch, you have to train yourself up. I’ve always thought that doing some writing is better than doing no writing at all. This can backfire though, right? You might do a little writing, then look at it and find it so terrible that it puts you off writing even more. Very counter productive.
  2. Walking before you can Crawl. Yeah, because when you look at the vast expanse of a whole book stretching out before you, the enormity of the task can put you off. Easing yourself back into it with some shorter fiction is better right? Even if it’s unrelated and you don’t really plan on doing anything with it (Matt did a post on this a few weeks back) its still getting those rusty writing muscles back into play, right? Personally, my writing falls into a few huge ‘super projects’ and writing away from these feels… counter intuitive. Time spent writing something else feels… wasteful.
  3. Sprint. One of my problems is I think too much about stuff. Matt wrote about when to show your work, and about not showing first drafts. I guess one of the reasons I’m more comfortable showing my ‘first draft’ is because really, it isn’t. I do my first few drafts in my head. Very very dangerous. When you draft in your head, when it comes time to set it down on paper its like… It feels like copying something out, kinda dull and tedious. So just write! Just write for an allotted period of time. Non-stop. Just push through it, and see what comes out.

Well, it’s a start. Does anyone have any other options to add to this? Any advice to help get me back on the horse? We shall see how things go and I shall update on the writing situation at… some indeterminate point in the future…