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!

Put it on the wall

There’s something powerful about putting a work in progress, a thought process, up on the wall: you can’t hide from it.

Sheets of flipchart paper and a whiteboard have attached themselves to my office wall.  They hold lists of words, spider diagrams, dates, timelines, post-its.  They are not organised or pretty but they serve two useful purposes: they catch and hold my random thoughts and, by reflecting them back at me whenever I step into the room, they remind me of this work I have committed to doing.  This book I am writing.  They make it harder to “forget” or let it slip.  They demand commitment, but gently, by beckoning me back.