It’s all about the productivity. That’s what they used to say back in the dark old days of sales repping. It was a good job if you liked that sort thing.
But they were right, those sales managers. It is all about the productivity. And being productive can often be the enemy of the writer. I mean, what’s productive about sitting at a desk, staring at a blank white screen, trying to use some Jedi mind trick or other to make words appear. Or, drifting off to some other magical place – a place where your story or feature or article has already been written and you can while away all that free time contemplating why flammable and inflammable have the same meaning, or why ravel isn’t the opposite of unravel.
You know, the big issues.
I’m a procrastinator. A put-off specialist. A wanderer of the mind. Hopefully it makes for some imaginative story-telling from time to time but it also makes for some spectacularly wasted time. The procrastinator – sent from the future to finally get the robotics project underway. As Steven Wright, a man with a quote for all absurdities, once said: I’m such a procrastinator I got a birth-mark when I was eight.
Today, however, was different. Today was a day of productivity. Things – ideas, words, storylines and other such suchness flowed into the brain from whereever they usually reside and flowed right on out again, through the arms, fingers and keyboards and began filling the white screen before my eyes. It’s a wonderful feeling when it happens.
There’s an old saying: I don’t like writing, I like having written. It’s a saying that has, in the past been attributed to all manner of famous writers from Ernest Hemmingway and Dorothy Parker to Robert Louis Stevenson. I don’t share this sentiment. I love writing – truly I love it. However, there are plenty of occasions when love can be something of a struggle. And like any loving relationship you have to work at it.
Some writers are prolific, they wake up, sit at their desk and away they go. I cannot claim to be one of those people. I can wake up, I’m definitely able to do that. I can certainly sit at my desk. As for the away we go part – often it’s more like away with the fairies. Once, whilst writing a short-story for my dissertation I found myself writing out a list of my favourite flavour crisps. My dissertation, for the record, proved to be a personal triumph that I’ve never looked at since but there were some lost hours along the way as my brain fought it’s natural instinct to think about everything other than the task at hand.
Marks & Spencer Beef & Onion came out on top, narrowly edging out Pickled Onion Monster Munch.
So today, as I finished some content writing work and after I’d treated myself to a mince pie (we’re past the 1st December embargo so it’s open season on mince pies) I returned to my seat and started banging the keyboard again – losing myself in a short story that has been lurking within for months, screaming for attention among the detritus of nonsense swimming around in my junkyard of a mind (it’s like the opening of Wall-E in there I’m certain).
So, what’s the moral of this story – or, the point. Maybe it’s a cack-handed way of suggesting that writing is about perseverance, about making sure you remain focused and committed to getting things written. Or, more likely, it’s that I’m on a roll – the words are flowing and I don’t want to waste them.
Oh look, a wasp…