Ugghhhhhh....... why is it that instead of doing what I want to do, I come up with excuses to do what I feel like doing instead?
I want to write. I want to write my novel. But I'm too tired tonight - work was a killer. It's Sunday night - I need to relax before I start the working week. I should finish off that chapter - but I think I'll play Call of Duty instead; besides, playing Call of Duty kind of inspires me to write.... except that I seem to do an inordinate amount of getting inspired compared to the amount of time I use that inspiration to write. I've been drinking - and I can't write when I've been drinking. It clouds my thought processes too much, and I need to be "sharp as a tack" when I write my novel. I just don't feel inspired, I think I'll leave it until tomorrow night to write it. But then tomorrow night I might want to watch a TV show or a movie instead. Just one night out of the week won't hurt? It's not like I sit watching TV every night.... sometimes I play Call of Duty instead. Or fart-arse around on the internet. Or say "I'm going to bed early tonight" and go to bed at 9pm, then lie there playing games on my iPhone for two hours. Sometimes (deep breath) I actually go to bed at 9pm and go to sleep then wake up at 6am the next morning feeling refreshed! But, then, I've gone to bed at 9pm and not done anything, let alone something productive.
Take last night for example. I said to my wife "I'm going in to The Boys' Room to do some writing". (The Boys' Room is the name of our garage that we have carpeted and painted and converted into a study/kids play area - that's right, the two most purpose-opposite rooms of the house combined into one). She said "OK". Then after dicking around on the computer for 20 minutes I come out to the lounge-room to get my headphones. "I think I'm going to watch a movie" I say. She shakes her head and says "tut tut" before saying "don't go complaining that you don't have any time to write then". To which I am about to make a very witty and sardonic reply when I realize she's right, and just leave before I get myself into trouble (again).
So I go to The Boys' Room where my computer is, which I built with my bare hands (and a screwdriver). I get my Blu-Ray disc of "2001 - A Space Odyssey" and stick it in the tray. I plug my headphones into the speakers and watch nigh on two hours of cinematic magic. Then go to bed thinking "why didn't I do some writing?" Now to be fair, 2001 - A Space Odyssey is very inspirational for an aspiring science fiction writer, but (again) there's something to be said for getting inspiration, and quite another thing to be said for actually using the inspiration to do some writing.
The answer? Get off your fat arse, stop procrastinating, and just bloody-well do it. Ben Lee said it best: "just do it, whatever it is, whatever it is, just do it".
Why don't I just do it?
I could come up with a bunch of lame excuses. I could also come up with a bunch of very able-bodied excuses. But at the end of the day, that's all they are - excuses. I'm afraid of failure; I'm afraid people will think my writing is bullshit; I'm afraid people will laugh at what I do; I'm afraid of wasting effort when perhaps this whole "me being a writer" thing is a pipe-dream and I've got no hope at all. Maybe there's all sorts of psychological factors and things from my past etc. that make me afraid to just do it. But I can sit around all day, whining about how crap my past was, and how many opportunities weren't handed to me on a silver platter, and nobody helps me - it won't get the job done. Plus I think every human being on the planet, no matter how privileged or otherwise they are, can be tempted to think that - some people land with their bum in the butter then complain when it starts melting.
But there is (as always) the other side of the coin. If I sit down and force myself to write, I really will come out with a bunch of uninspired bullshit. So I do need to write when I'm feeling the inspiration - but how to not let this become yet another dart in my arsenal of excuses? I think I have to sit myself down and force myself, not to write, but to calm down, stop the mind from ticking over, focus on the task at hand and get in the zone. I've done it before, so I know it can be done.
I've been telling my three-year old son that he can do whatever he sets his mind to. And I honestly believe that with all my heart - you can do whatever you set your mind to. But that's the trick - dismantle the platitude, and we realize that that's the hard part - setting your mind to it! But set your mind, and keep it set, and the world is your oyster (to use another platitude).
My sister and her husband said if I mentioned them in my blog they would give me $2. Here's to my first paid writing gig!