How to actually write

Even when I block out a whole day for writing (and congratulate myself for taking it so seriously), and prepare in advance a list of Things To Write, why do I let life get in the way and do all the non-writing Things To Do instead?  Why??

And what can I do about it?  (Yes, this is a plea for suggestions from you.  I know my usual way on the blog is to give you inspiration, but today let’s play role-reversal.  Please?)

Here’s the thought process.

1.  Paid work is just that: paid.  So obviously it’s more important than writing a book that doesn’t even have a proper structure or plan yet, says my inner logic.  So why wouldn’t I deal with the paid work first?

2. Family comes first.  Always.  So of course I need to phone my mum and reassure her that everything is fine, before I get down to writing business.

3. Feeding the aforementioned family is part of my job as Mummy.  So of course I would put dinner in the slow cooker before getting out the writing implements.

4. Speaking of writing implements: laptop, you are very useful and I appreciate everything about you.  But as soon as I open you I can see all my emails and a million distractions.  (See 1.  And 2.)  Yes, I could close all those windows.  But I swear you open them again yourself when I’m busy trying to type a sentence for the third time.

And here is my single conclusion so far:

Write using paper and pen.  In a different room from the laptop.  It’s the only answer.

But it’s not the whole answer.  If it was, I would have come home from dropping the boy off at school, picked up a notebook and pen, and got on with it.

So how do I convince myself that writing this book is as important as the other stuff?  That’s today’s big question.  All answers gratefully received!

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5 thoughts on “How to actually write

  1. I think it’s a fear thing. I think we “fear” writing. I know that I unconsciously struggle to finish my projects or write at all, because after all these years of thinking about it, talking about it and dreaming about it. “What if I actually do it?” and “No one reads it or likes it?”. I have your same problem today, a full day away from the corporate asylum and I’m doing everything but write! Yet here I sit with laptop…..

    • Oh yes, fear. Definitely. I’d add, “what if I can’t really do it?”

      I managed a bit in the end. I called it ‘writing practice’ rather than Writing The Book, and I did it on paper. It’s something…

      • Yes, you did. Everything we write is writing. It takes you a while to get your head round it, but it’s true. So therefore you wrote today. Even your book is writing practise for the next book. Because that’s all you can do as a writer. You just write and get better. Wishing you a long extended span of “Oh my gosh, i just can’t get the words down quick enough…”

  2. I agree that it’s a fear thing. Definitely is for me! And the ONLY approach that works for me is a complete change of venue. I’m going to have to schedule a coffee shop day soon … I take my laptop and head for a bookshop that has a pretty nice coffee shop. Our library is also a good place for writing – big easy chairs arranged around a fireplace. I can’t write by hand – it’s just too slow, and my hand starts to ache too soon. But somehow being away from my everyday environment, with Himself warned not to call except in dire emergency (I can ignore all other calls), it’s easier to ignore email, etc. And being surrounded by books is pretty inspiring…:)

    Of course, what I love best of all is to take off with a dog or two, leaving Himself in charge of the rest of the pack, and spend a few days next to the ocean. I walk and write and walk and think, and it’s marvelous. Haven’t been able to do that for several years, though…

    • A coffee shop day is something I’m plotting for this Friday – being away definitely helps. And a few days alone at the ocean sounds like bliss, writing or no writing!

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