The biggest problem I have when writing is becoming distracted. There’s always something going on. There’s always someone demanding my attention. There are always chores to do, responsibilities to fulfil, workplaces to attend. There’s the fact that I don’t have anywhere that I can use specifically for writing. I write in the sitting room mostly, or in my bedroom. I write in the garden if the weather’s nice (pah!). I’ve even tried writing in a corner of the attic, among the spider webs and the old toys and the accumulating off-cuts of carpet. But I can’t seem to escape the drudgery long enough to get any significant volume of words on the page.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t help myself either. Having recently joined Twitter, it seems I have fallen prey to the whims of my own ego. Instead of using what valuable (and limited) time I have to write, I watch that little number on the browser tab instead. I make strange, pointless comments about crap no-one’s interested in in order to maintain a presence in this surreal cyberspace. I repeatedly check to see if anyone new is following me, or if any of them have mentioned me. What are my literary idols doing? What are they saying? Are there any publishing houses following me? Is anyone interested in what I have to say? Anyone at all?
And all the while that Word document remains blank. That cursor keeps blinking. So I find myself asking the question: do I want the distractions or do I want to write? Clearly I can’t have both and so the answer, of course, is option two. I want to write. I want to write my gelatinous butt off.
In light of this epiphany it has become imperative that I give my writing the time and attention it rightly deserves. Though there are certain distractions I will never be able to ignore, like my children for instance (pesky kids!), there are things I can do to minimise the others. I believe that the smallest changes can have the biggest impact – a little twizzle here, a gentle fiddle there – and to that end I have made some resolutions, commandments if you will, that will hopefully help me become the writer I dream of being.
1. Thou shalt not browse
There shall be no internet access when writing. None of any kind. This includes research for said writing. Anything I need to know I can ‘Google’ after the fact. So Twitter, you’re just gonna have to wait. No, stop flashing that little number at me, I don’t care what you’ve got to say. I not going to tell you again! Stop it I tell you!
2. Thou shalt not view terrestrial images
There is to be absolutely, categorically, no TV whilst creative juices are flowing. Not even if Eastenders is on. In-fact, I’m getting rid of the TV altogether. There’s never anything on anyway. Except Eastenders of course. And Breaking Bad. And Game of Thrones. No..! *Shakes fist at the sky* I. Must. Resist.
3. Thou shalt build an arc-itechtural haven
I shall go forth and purchase a desk (or build one from old bits of wood I find in the shed, I’m not fussed really). This will prevent painful knee burn from prolonged laptop supportage. Furthermore, this newfound ergonomic bliss will help with my posture (I’m developing a weighty hunch) and will alleviate backache caused by aforementioned hunch. I vow to keep said workspace clear of clutter at all times in the pursuit of at-one-ness with my wordsmithery and will find a place somewhere out of the way, preferably with a moat and some kind of drawbridge, to which only I have the key. Mwah-ha-ha-ha *strokes white cat*
4. Thou shalt write thine arse off
I shall write. Just write, dagnamit! Write, write, and when I’m done writing, shit, I’ll write some more! I’ll write until I collapse to the floor in breathless relief and fall into a fitful stupor. I’ll write until my brain implodes and my fingers fall off. I’ll write morning noon and night. Unless I’m working of course, or sleeping, or, you know, feeding my children and such.
Okay so that’s only four commandments, but you get the gist. The point is that I’m making changes and, as with everything in life, it’s an ongoing process. So what am I going to do now, I hear you ask?
Why, write of course.