Friday, 9 December 2011

Stop Pretending

For the first time since I started this blog, I honestly don't know what to write about. Up to now, I've always arrived at this space with a definite idea such as a book or a website to share with fellow writers, a post based on an item I've read about in a writing magazine or some writing-related tips based on my own writing experiences.

The truth is, I've hardly done any writing for days now and I think it's time to come clean and stop pretending that I'm currently working on lots of commissions, that the phone has never stopped ringing and that my email in-box is full of correspondence from editors and agents.

Yes, I have a detailed plan of intended work for this month on my wall. Yes, I have at least one deadline (children's poems for a  sports and games anthology and yes, I have the very pleasant editors at Fractured West (see last blog post) "looking forward" to my contribution. I also have one children's novel almost ready to send out, another one (still!) waiting to be finished and more non-fiction ideas for articles and books than I can possibly ever write.

So what's the problem? I know I've mentioned before that I have problems getting down to writing but that once I've started, I don't want to stop. However, this usually only applies on a daily basis. Now I'm finding that I can't start at the beginning of the week, either. I'm ashamed to admit that it is already the early hours of Saturday morning, (despite what the time label on this post may say!) and this is the first actual writing I've done all week.

Of course, I can come up with excuses. I'm really tired. I probably need a week off. I've been using up a lot of writing time and energy creating a website (soon to be launched at for my "portfolio career". I had some friends drop by whom I hadn't seen for over a year. It's coming up to Christmas. It's freezing cold in my office, especially at 3am. The list could go on and on but what strikes me as interesting is that I have still managed to do everything else. I've still crafted, practised my music, done (unusually!) lots of housework, defrosted the fridge, paid the bills, replied to all my emails...that list could go on and on as well.

So what is it about writing that makes it so easy to avoid? Is it the lack of deadlines? (Obviously not as I have at least one looming.) Is it having too many writing projects on the go? (Possibly but that has never stopped me before.) Is it a lack of knowing what to write about? (Not really. Once I actually start a specific writing task, the ideas usually flow.) Or is it simply that if I don't do any writing, the only really bad thing that will happen is I'll feel guilty and let's face it, I can live with that?

If anyone has any other (polite!) suggestions I'd be delighted to hear from them. I've mentioned before somewhere that putting a copy of your latest gas/electricity bill next to the computer is supposed to motivate you to write. This of course implies that you are earning enough money from your writing to pay said bill and that is the subject of a whole other post!


  1. I do sympathise. Some weeks I get a lot done; other times I look back in shame at my idleness. Paradoxically, I find it most difficult getting on with work for which I know I'm going to be paid. I can write for hours for my life in France blog which doesn't bring in a cent - although even there, I've been a bit devoid of ideas recently. I have no magic solutions. But don't let other writers kid you that they are dashing off copy as if it were going out of fashion. We all have a guilty secret!

  2. Thanks for sharing your own guilty secrets, Vanessa. I feel a lot better now!