Monday, September 27, 2010


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!


  1. Writing is like turning on an Adelaide tap (in the 80s). At first, a whole lot of brown stuff comes out. Eventually, if you keep the tap running, drinkable (or at least usable) stuff comes out.

    You don't have to feel inspired to write. You just have to write; anything will do. Often inspiration only comes after you start writing.

    All of the 'Instant Stories' we write on facebook are - wait for it - uninspired. You just start writing and see what comes out. Sometimes it is crap, and that's fine. Sometimes inspiration comes from reading your own crap and laughing at it, and you end up writing a comedy.

    Also, you shouldn't put any pressure on the writing process. It's like a pump: you prime it to flush out all the conscious try-hard junk, then you go into that zone where nobody (including you) is watching or critisizing, and let your sub-conscious spill its often dark secrets. The best stuff comes when you go into that semi-trance and transcribe your indescribable fears and desires. That's what people connect with after all.

    For an example, I will share some of my scrap writing with you. It's just stuff you write to keep the pump primed:


    I should be writing right now.

    I feel a blockage. I have felt the passion of the deep things, but when i am so aware of the shallow the deep eludes me.

    Instead of being windows into my soul, my eyes have reflected the rarified souls of others, trapped in a window that moves as I command.

    [Note: what the hell does that mean??]

    the comet brightens the crevases of the earth
    while ants gather to nibble at the frozen rocks
    that fall from its tail.

    oh sun, please explode.

    wakes up after ten years - hospital hum the most visceral sound, everything new and real and so meaningflu or rather tangeable like a child seeing things for the first time but the whole world is different - it doens't have him in it


    As you can see... it's called scrap for a reason. But I am interested in some of the ideas in there. You can see my temporary obsession with hospitals and amnesia I had a while back, coming through in my scrap.

    Anyway, just be encouraged and write anything you like. Go for a mental wander into wonderland and give your keyboard the privilege of watching and recording. You must never let a critic into your writing room, which sometimes means leaving your conscious, adult self at the door.

  2. Here is a poem I wrote in scrap mode:

    I peered down the well
    and saw a dark and grimy window
    covered with weeds and moss.
    I looked deeper still
    and saw a light
    and I will never look again.

    What does that mean? I don't know. I think it's pretty cool though, which is why I thought I'd show it off on your blog.