After spending the first day of my holiday, not being on holiday (by
going into work) and having my daughter to stay overnight Saturday, I
guess I now start my holiday proper.
Everyone I speak to, that I tell that I'm going on holiday, will ask me,
'are you going anywhere'. No. I reply. I'm going to stay at home.
Sometimes I elaborate a little. Sometimes I don't. See the thing is, I
tell myself that the reason why I don't do as much writing as I would
like, is because I'm too stressed out from work to sit down and look at
a computer. Which we all know is rubbish, because anyone that knows me
will tell you that I spend my evenings with the computer, sometimes more
than one computer on. Just not doing anything useful with it.
Easy for me to blame work, but as I am now on holiday, I don't have that
excuse do I ? I've had some good days lately, where I've been due to be
at work late, so wouldn't normally get up until 10am. I've actually
gotten up much earlier and given myself a couple of hours first thing in
the morning to get some writing done. This indeed has worked, and I did
manage to get some pages done. Also the other week when I had a day off
midweek, likewise I got up stupidly early, for what was my day off, and
told myself I was going to be writing from 9am. And I was. The 'I've got
to be in the office by...' mentality seems to work for me. If I do the
writing at the other end of the day, then I find it very very easy to
come in from work, and a) put the TV on. That evil, evil thing in the
corner of the room that sucks away all my time. or, b) I sit down, and
think, 'I'll just give myself half an hour and then I'll start'. Well
that half an hour turns into an hour, turns into two, turns into three,
and then I tell myself 'oh, it's too late to start anything now, I'll
have a look tomorrow'. Tomorrow never comes. There's much
procrastination in my head. I find it very easy to talk myself out of
doing things, and that I can do them later on. It's funny, because I'd
never behave that way at work. At work, I'm always much more focussed
and driven by the power of the moment, and the yearn to 'just get things
I get too comfortable. I laze about.
When I have 'good writing days' I just get up, and get on with it. There
is no other common denominator than that. I love to read how other
people that write, have their methods, have their 'rituals'. I'm looking
for that 'eureka' moment, that revelation that when put into practice
will create this stream of fantastic and wonderful prose that emanates
from my brain, travels down my arms, into my fingers, where it is
skilfully and rapidly converted into text.
That's all rubbish of course. (or crubbish, as my daughter would say). I
forget who it was that said that the only way to write is to put in the
desk time. I paraphrase, badly. I'm so lazy, I can't be bothered to fire
up firefox, and go have a google to find out who the quote came from,
and actually quote it correctly. My only defence is, that if I fire up
firefox, I will be drawn inexorably into facebook, or twitter, or some
such other distraction. How many times a day can I hit refresh on the
BBC news website. Surely the world isn't going to end without me knowing
about it ?
So. To try and break the pattern. I am not staying at home. I am not
going away. I am going on a writing holiday, but not one of those ones
that cost you loads of money to go sit in some beautiful countryside
with a load of other people that also don't know how to write. (I have
no idea that's what those things are like, I've never been on one..
perhaps I should... but I'm too tight to do it. Too tight, and too
cynical. I digress). I mean I am going on holiday into the spare room.
I type this from my bed, and like the bed you sleep in on holiday, it's
unfamiliar to me. I've never slept in it before. I don't use this room a
lot, and infact, have never stayed in it. Even though, I am still in the
same flat, everything sounds different. The amount of darkness outside
the window is different. It's strange enough to me to not be
It's just that its cheaper than actually going away for the week. I have
my trusty netbook, my office chair (I wouldn't normally take that on
holiday somewhere with me, that would be wildly impractical). Wow, I'm
using up my whole years' quota of parenthesis in this entry. And I only
wanted to say a few short words. I don't know how many words this is,
because I'm on my netbook, and there is a limit to what it can be called
upon to do.
I am actually going to still get up in the mornings, just hopefully much
earlier than I have on previous 'stay at home' holidays. Sometimes I
haven't dragged myself out of bed much before midday.
This all does beg the question, how the hell do you continue to motivate
yourself to get up every day, if you, well, don't have a reason to get
up. If you're unemployed, or a kept woman, kept man for that matter. (I
live in hope). It must actually be hard to do that, and not descend into
an absolutely apathetically lazy, self serving ever decreasing spiral of
diminishing effort and returns.
After all, there's 'Jeremy Kyle' to get up for. I'd count that as a
reason to stay in bed until well after it's over. There's always 'Loose
Women'. I do love loose women, as much as the next man. You can take
that more than one way. A bit like the..... never mind.
Anyhoo. I will be, not hopefully, but am certain that I will be making a
difference this week.
Considering I want to write, I have a strange emotional attachment to
the idea of writing, and the elation that I get when I complete
something. The idea of starting something, when there's a blank page in
my pad, a blank screen on the computer and a blank head from whence the
ideas should flow to fill all the above is actually quite daunting. 'The
trick is, to stare at a blank piece of paper until your head bleeds' - I
believe is another badly remembered and uncredited quote. Uncredited
here. It is actually credited to someone. I just can't remember who.
When I'm actually in the throws of working out how to get a
character/story from plot/place/situation A to plot/place/situation B, I
don't think of the writing, I'm thinking of the problem at hand, which
is to get from A to B. Much in the same way you would think about
finding a route through a city you know, when you have the map memorised
in your head.
Like that, except, with this, you get to decide not just the route, but
also the layout of the city, the design of the buildings, the reason for
the journey and indeed the destination. Because there are so many
variables, and it's such an open field, its sometimes (I find) difficult
to know where to start.
Well, as Mary Poppins said, 'lets start at the very beginning, what a
very nice place to start'. Let's not confuse things by saying that when
writing you don't have to start at the beginning at all. That's just
going to get confusing, isn't it ? After all, even if you start at the
middle, it's still the start isn't it ?