Yesterday I read an article in The Atlantic about why writers procrastinate.
Writers who don’t produce copy—or leave it so long that they couldn’t possibly produce something good—are giving themselves the perfect excuse for not succeeding.
“Work finally begins,” says Alain de Botton, “when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly.”
Empathy is the lovely quality to have as a person, and a perhaps the great skill to have a writer, however, I think so many writers are depressed because they empathise too much with their characters; they feel too deeply and thus, avoid the pain on the page.
Pain + fear of not writing well + life interruptions = Procrastination
When I have long blocks of time, I am able to write freely and the words pour out of me, all the little details coming together to create the texture of the book.
It is impossible for me to create good work without these long stretches of time.
Yesterday my brother had chemo, and since he’s having poison pumped into his body, he gets anxious when it’s happening, and likes someone to be with him.
He was tired as his white cell count is dropping, and well, hospital is just bloody tiring. He dozed on the bed as the nurse worked around him, checking him and the poison pump. He had a massage from the mobile masseuse on the ward, spoke to his doctor a few times, ate calamari rings from the cafe, he dozed again.
This was over seven hours.
Me? I worked. I wrote 2,500 words in his room as all of this was happening around me.
It was a good place to escape from, so the scenes flowed on the screen. Just being with him was enough, he said, and he was very pleased that I made such a good word count when I was ostensibly, doing something for him.
A win for me, and a blow to any cancer inside him. Yin and yang, baby.
I keep reminding him, ‘He is nearly done, nearly done, one more chemo round after this one. One more round.’
I want to sing it to the Les Mis song. (*Russell Crowe’s voice sounds like a washing machine.)