There are people I know, other writers, who manage an endless surplus of of other life-type stuff (careers, higher education, marriages, families) and still manage to write lots and often. There are proper, real life humans with actual grown up lives who wander around in their nice clothes and hair cuts with their mortgages and wedding rings and bank accounts and organic vegetables who are a lot more productive than I am.
I took last week off to focus on finally ending that blasted novel of mine. One full week with an entirely clear schedule and it was mine – all mine. A long stretch of time for me to sit down and wrestle with the shitty dialogue, the end of that chapter that seems a bit boring, those characters who are kind of meaningless, and at the end of the week I’d finally be on the road to completion. By the end of the week I could sit back and say: I wrote a novel. Get me. I totally wrote a novel. How many people can say that?
Answer: Quite a few. And I’m not one of them.
Because I didn’t spend last week working on my novel.
Last week I got paid. And I decided to celebrate by purchasing a new desk chair from Ikea, and then celebrate my purchase of a new desk chair by eating Daim cheesecake in the Ikea cafe and then I spent the next few days constructing the new desk chair… And dismantling and rearranging other furniture to make room for the new desk chair and to make new desk chair feel welcome.
Because y’know, there’s no way I could finish the novel without buying a new desk chair. I mean, if you’re going to spend a week working on your masterpiece – you may as well do it
in style while eating cheesecake in comfort.
Okay, so it’s a cruddy excuse. And even after the desk chair was constructed I did not open my novel and attempt to finish it. I surfed the internet and pretended to be Captain James Kirk.
When it comes to me, there’s always a reason not to write; the house is too messy, so I can’t concentrate, I need to go to the supermarket, I need a new desk/desk chair/room to work in, I’m too tired/hungry/stressed, I have back ache so I can’t sit at my desk for long, or I’m stuck.
Okay. So, it’s that last one which holds responsibility for all the other crappy excuses. I’m stuck. Really stuck. So stuck that I’m beginning to resent my stupid novel.
The truth is, I don’t think I’m that far away from finishing. There are two or three chapters which need redrafting, but for whatever reason, I can’t bring myself to do it.
I know I should sit down and simply take a look at what needs changing and try to work the problems out bit by bit, but as more time passes, the prospect of doing this becomes more and more daunting and I’m becoming more afraid of tackling the issue.
It’s becoming a monster.
Am I actually scared of finishing my novel? I mean, this isn’t just your average case of procrastination we’re talking about here – this is driving a considerable distance to eat Swedish cheesecake and pretending to be William Shatner…
Anyone got a number for a good psychiatrist?