From Zero to Hulk in Nano-seconds…

Sometimes being a crappy aspiring writer can be a bit lonely. For the most part, it doesn’t bother me, but every now and again I feel a bit isolated and rubbish. I realised (okay, I didn’t realise it, Will Self wrote it as part of The Guardian’s Ten Rules for Writing Fiction article last year, and I found myself agreeing) that actually, being lonely is part and parcel of being a writer – aspiring or otherwise.

“The writing life is essentially one of solitary confinement – if you can’t deal with this, you needn’t apply,”

When I thought about this a little further, I realised that actually solitary confinement would, every now and again, be more than welcome. It’s typical that almost every time I sit down to write, there will be an interruption of some sort. Or a loud irritating and unstoppable noise. Today it’s the latter.

Today, the park down the road is host to a “Neighbourhood Picnic” but specifically, to some thumping bass serving no real purpose than to replace my desire to write with a desire to smash things.

My biggest writing problem is having the self-discipline to actually sit down and write. The main problem with sitting down to write, is sitting down to write. Overcoming that particular hurdle is an achievement in itself and any interruption from that point forward is seen as some sort of test of my will power; life is attempting to sabotage my new found work ethic by providing an interruption at every turn.

Typically, life always serves you with an impromptu interruption whenever you get around to doing that thing (writing a novel) you’ve been putting off for ages.

When I’m writing an interruption can be absolutely anything – and usually whatever the interruption is, it’s something that on an average day, only ever ranges from not annoying at all, to slightly annoying.

Here is a list of things that aren’t really that annoying, but could potentially turn you into a raging psychopath when you’re concentrating:

Disturbance in the (creative) force

Here’s the scenario: I’ve actually braved the writing desk, I’ve been writing for ten minutes, all the awkward, fumbling sentences have tumbled out, I’ve evolved from not being sure what I was writing about to actually being onto something vaguely interesting, my enthusiasm is high and I’d quite like to keep writing for the next… however long. Note: This is a very rare and slightly euphoric feeling – I’m writing and I’m focussed and I actually want to keep writing.

Then something – anything happens. Something happens and interrupts me. And I can’t believe it’s happened. How dare it?

I’m trying to write.

And I’m almost never trying to write because I’m usually too busy procrastinating.

Why? Why law of sod have you done this to me?

And within a matter of nano-seconds of said interruption, I will lurch from my tranquil, euphoric state of concentration to the Incredible Hulk on amphetamines.

To explain, I have constructed the following scientific diagrams for your perusal:

Fig.1: Graph Showing Levels of Irritability on an Average Day (when not attempting to write)


Fig.2: Graph Showing Levels of Irritability When Trying to Write

When trying to write

And when the rage occurs, I am no longer a housemate in possible need of light, caffeine refreshment, a neighbour to families or people with dogs, or families with dogs, or a neighbour of a family of dogs, nor a person who has ordered something from Amazon which is being delivered and requires a signature for the package. I am a raging demon straight from the fiery gates of hell trying to punch out one, half decent sentence.

In conclusion: The writing life is one of solitary confinement. In a world where there are phones and neighbours and dogs and dance music and packages arriving from Amazon, some solitary confinement here and there is more than welcome.

And if you’re going to interrupt me when I’m working, I advise you wear protective headgear.

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Comments: 10

  1. Steven Chapman May 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm Reply

    Just out of interest, what would happen if a screaming child, with a noisy dog in one hand and a ghetto blaster in the other, rang you up to tell you they were on the doorstep with a cup of tea that needed signing for?

  2. Jojiebean May 8, 2011 at 5:39 pm Reply

    I would destroy them. Obv… ;)

  3. alonewithcats May 10, 2011 at 5:20 am Reply

    If this writing thing doesn't work out for you, I think a second calling could be scientific diagram maker.

  4. Suniverse May 10, 2011 at 1:53 pm Reply

    O.k., I read your title as From Zero to HAIKU in NanoSeconds, which may be part of our problem. Mine, in that I'm not focused. Yours in that you're not haiku.

    But I'm not sure that yours is such a problem.

    Love the graphs. Hate the interruptions.

  5. Rik May 11, 2011 at 12:36 pm Reply

    None of those famous authors recommended alternating beer and energy drinks while writing late at night. Perhaps that's why they're famous authors. Also, it could explain why I never sleep very well after writing. Also, the headaches and the digestive problems.

  6. Simone May 11, 2011 at 5:41 pm Reply

    i hate kids too. and since adults are just taller children. i hate all people. i love being alone. and this is why writing feeds my soul. unfortunately i like to starve myself…

  7. Jojiebean May 11, 2011 at 7:53 pm Reply

    You know, I have thought about and searched high and low for a job as a scientific diagram maker, and no one wants you unless you're *actually* a scientist. Prejudice.

  8. Jojiebean May 11, 2011 at 7:54 pm Reply

    See, now I kind of wish I was haiku. And a professional scientific graph maker.

  9. Jojiebean May 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm Reply

    It's a tried and tested method. And most writers have irritable bowel syndrome… Or so I'm told. Or hope. One of those.

  10. Jojiebean May 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm Reply

    But how do you feel about dogs?

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