the circular runner

why do writers sometimes put off…writing

In Uncategorized, writers & books, writing on October 10, 2012 at 5:44 am

WTF?  I am a writer.  Now, it’s true that as a new father who teaches, I am often not writing as much as I’d like.  This is not surprising.  Time is a premium, especially for new parents.  But even before The Boy was born, I was a serial waster of time.  Give me four hours to write and I’ll kick butt for two–the last two.  The first couple hours will be me reading around the web, looking up random things, writing myself notes about other random things that pop into my head while looking up the aforementioned randomness.  I catch up on emails sometimes, too.  It’s the virtual equivalent of cleaning the bathroom, which is what I used to do before I got in the habit of writing in coffee houses, which I did because I thought I’d waste less time.

For a while before The Boy, I was all caught up on blog reading, but my toilet had seen better days.  (My wife hates cleaning more than she hates eating salads, which is saying something in her case.)

Now, I only have dribbles of time in the morning or late at night.  And the dribbles are even dribblier because I still want to read things here and there and write emails.  I’m like my first car, an ancient, brown beast that I bought for 500 bucks.  My father told me when I got the thing that I should always warm her up before driving–advice I have since been told is a bunch of BS.  Oh well, dad meant well, and The Beast didn’t last the summer.  But what was not true that car, certainly seems true for me.  I need time to circle into the writing process, to warm up the brain, to face the fear that I will suck.

I say this even though most times when I do my warm-up, I hate myself as soon as I start writing.  Why?  Because I love writing when I’m not doing everything I can to avoid writing.

I’m not sure if there’s a solution here, other than doing as the good people at Nike used to advise: Just Do It!

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  1. I know exactly how you feel. For me, I’ve got to have every other task/distraction out of the way before I can begin to concentrate on my writing, so you can imagine how that works out. On work days, I usually can’t get started until 8 pm or later, if at all. And I too, tend to check email and surf the web to warm up the engine before starting. Quite a few writers suggest disconnecting from the internet when writing, and I have started to do so. It really does help the focus.

  2. I think your experience is nearly universal. It’s certainly the case with me. When I rise (horribly) early on the weekends to write, I tell my self I am “warming up” when I surf and write blog entries and visit various places on the internet. But then when I finally give my attention to my stories, I rip right along. Too soon the household is up (a manic Border Collie, mostly), and my stolen writing time is done. Still I seem to be getting something done this way.

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