Excuses, Excuses


Today is Monday; Mondays are nice because I can start my daily excuse rotation afresh.  Excuses figure prominently in the lives of every writer I know or have ever read about.  I’ve always thought it was strange that a great many writers spend a lot of energy avoiding writing when it’s something so dear to me.  I understand that it happens but I’m still not sure why.  I’ve discovered  excuses are more complicated than they might appear on the surface.

In my case, excuses help the writing.   I’m aware this sounds delusional.  Hear me out…I have a chorus of voices in my head at any given moment.  My over-worked brain is sorting through characters, story ideas, plot revisions, the question of who will play my main character in the movie, etc.  Performing mundane chores that have nothing to do with writing can alleviate character development  and plot stress while achieving something tangible.

The performance of mindless chores like laundry are the best excuses.  It’s the whole killing two birds with one stone theory.  I sit in front of my computer screen sometimes, chewing my nails and obssessing about what the characters are going to do or say next.  Before I get completely frustrated and kill them all with a giant meteor, I find a mindless chore to do.  In the middle of separating the darks from the whites or the jeans from the delicates, inspiration often strikes and my character/plot/meteor dilemma is solved.  The unfortunate by-product is that sometimes the laundry never gets completed or my husband plays squash in pink socks.

Sometimes I’ll play Tetris or do a crossword on the computer; these types of “time wasters” are riskier.   Casual observers think I’m just screwing around and not serious about my writing; they would be wrong.  If they dare to approach me and vocalize such observations, they are likely to lose limbs and appendages that mean a great deal to them.

Of course, I’d be lying if I said there aren’t days where I waste time all day long.  Those are dark days indeed, filled with angst and guilt as I sit and watch my favourite show online or when I wander aimlessly between desk and fridge.  I am ashamed of these days and nothing good ever comes from them.  I don’t know if the guilt comes from work avoidance or the fact that I’m not doing something healthy while I avoid my work…

Truth be told, I’m writing this post in order to avoid a problem with one of my stories.  My main character is stuck in London and she wants to go home.  I don’t think she should go home.  She needs to stay in the UK and deal with her situation.  Er…running away from one’s problems never solved anything.  She’s pissing me off so I’m ignoring her for the time being.  She and I need to sit in our respective corners, maybe for the entire day, until we work out our differences.

Now, some would say that we have to work out our differences on the page itself and we might just do that.  Later.  If it gets cloudy.   Right now I have a puppy to play with and a shower to take and tomato plants to plant and …rescue my husband’s white socks.


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