So the clocks have gone back, in the UK at least, giving us all an extra hour to do something golden and great. And what have I used those precious extra minutes for? Finishing stories, perhaps, or planning my literary opus for this year’s fast approaching NaNoWriMo?
Of course not. I’ve been faffing about.
A lot of people make the assumption that when you’re writing 12 books in 12 months, you don’t do the usual writerly procrastination thing. Surely there isn’t time? These are charitable people, who perhaps do not know me very well. If there’s one thing I can always make time for, it’s wasting time.
Admittedly this year my procrastination has taken on a sheen of productivity, but it’s still happening. For instance, on Friday night I had every intention of writing, but when it came down to it I knitted instead.
I was able to justify this because I embarked upon a patchwork blanket in January 2009 and it’s been Nearly Done But Not Quite for about a year. Now that winter is on the way again it seems an entirely sensible and productive thing to finish it, because our flat is about as well insulated as something very poorly insulated – a ruined castle, say, or a cardboard box. Except actually, this blanket is finished enough to cover more than three quarters of the bed, and we ended up buying an electric under blanket last winter, so we’ll be fine. And suddenly my knitting doesn’t seem that productive anymore…
Meanwhile yesterday, I met up with a friend in the morning and came home ready to write a ton of stuff… and I fell asleep. What’s that all about? I didn’t even have any useful nightmares to incorporate into a horror story. By the time I woke up it was time to cook tea for another friend coming round, and I didn’t even knit when she was here, I just chatted and watched TV.
Then today there’s this blog. I ought to be finishing stories right now, or at the very least updating the Ten Tracks site or writing the November Oot for The Broughton Spurtle but instead I am drafting this post, because ‘I haven’t updated for a couple of days and on Twitter I said I would.’ As if there are scores of enraged people who saw that tweet and have now come to the end of their tether en masse – they need their fix of 12 books on this blustery Sunday afternoon or so help them they’re going to tear down this internet.
I don’t feel too horrible about the fact I’m procrastinating, because I think there’s a lot to be said for it. A huge amount of writing lies in the part where you Think About Things; where ideas are swirling around in the back of your brain whilst you bake scones or catch up on other people’s blogs or click on every link anyone posts on Facebook or Twitter. However, there comes a time when you have to set this thinking time aside and get something down on the page.
The trick is to stop blogging and get on with it.