TMoRP – Having written

I’m a prize procrastinator.

I was talking to a writer buddy today about our respective story outputs this year – this is the kind of riveting conversation you get when writers meet each other [1] – and he took me to task for using the word “lazy” to describe myself.

He’s not wrong.

The problem is that admitting to being lazy feels easier than confronting the stark truth: I don’t get as much done as I feel like I can and should, because I resist starting. A lot.

When I say “resistance”, you might picture a certain yawning indolence. Possibly a cup of tea and a comfortable couch feature prominently in your mental image.

You wouldn’t be wrong, but you’d be closer to imagine a yowling tomcat objecting in a whirlwind of slashing claws and ruffled fur to his diarrhoea medicine.

The author on deadline

Perhaps I exaggerate. But not by much. [2]

Oh, it’s not that I get bored and distracted until I give up and go watch the television all evening. That’s common-or-garden procrastination. Anyone can do that!

I have a panoply of clever techniques to help me avoid work. I have side projects, like this month-long blog series that eats up most of my slender allocation of free writing time.

Or there’s that blog series about that TV show. Or that blog series about those old books. Or this self-motivation training course I’m working on. Or my journal. Or that short story I’ve been tinkering on for the last eighteen months. Or the next cool contest. Or that anthology open call I just heard out.

Or. Or. Or.

You get the idea.

The thing is, it’s dumb. Because I *like* writing. I enjoy the feeling of slapping words down in a clatter of keyboard thuds and watching meaning and understanding, however crude, emerge like a wizard’s conjuration. I love how ideas turn into characters, and characters turn into stories, sometimes without me even conscious of how it’s happening.

And more than that, I love having written.

I love looking back over a couple of pages of crab-written scrawls and thinking, “That’s a story that didn’t exist anywhere an hour ago” [3]. It really is a bit magical, the way you can just waggle your fingers around for a while and create something fascinating and compelling and cool.

(Or alternately a bunch of utter rubbish, but that’s where editing comes in)

I’m not lazy.

I just come slightly undone in that moment between sitting down at the keyboard and writing those first words.

The last words, though? I’m great at those. Once I’ve hit my stride and ploughed through a writing session, I glow all over. I’m on top of the world and I could fight giants. Immediately after having written is when I feel most alive.

Maybe I should start at the end and work backwards?

What could go wrong?

What could go wrong?

[1] This and snarking about other writers who don’t happen to be there at that moment. I mean, *I* don’t talk like this, but I presume everyone is doing it about me.
[2] I hardly ever bite my editors, for example. Except the ones trying to feed me diarrhoea medicine.
[3] My smug-writing-afterglow self obviously gives himself too much credit for producing a palatable first draft, of course, but his heart’s in the right place.
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