Monday, January 18, 2010

The Things I Must Resort To

Today, I awoke to a world shrouded in mist. Planes weren't flying in to the unseen airport -- a bugger since Prince William was due to fly in from Auckland. I got to work and couldn't see Tinakori Hill from my desk.

Some summer, we Wellingtonians cry (Six days of sun since Christmas Day…).

Around 11am the fog began to clear in Thorndon (Prince William managed to land before then), but I sat there waiting for a clarity of my own.

I spent the weekend not writing. It was good writing weather - wet and unseasonably cold - and I had nothing to do except write (and visit the supermarket, I guess). But I played Wii Sports Resort, ploughed through season 2 of Californication and watched the Sacramento Kings lose two games of basketball. That is, I did the sorts of things I long to do when I'm grinding away at a piece of writing.

But today I don’t feel like the cat who got the cream. I feel like the overeater who got the cream.

I am not spending enough time writing. Hell, I’m not spending enough time in my office at home, full stop.

I forgot the time it takes to become accustomed to a writing space. I thought it would be simple having my own office, because I have put up with far smaller spaces with more distractions. I thought I'd find no trouble entering this space. The problem, in part, is that I'm not used to such seclusion. In Edinburgh, I could just pull out my earphones, turn around and ask M. a question. Looking back, there was both a kind of comfort in this, and a disincentive to slack off.

In my own office, it is much easier to sort out photo albums or play yahtzee – to never get around to writing. But when it comes to re-enter the office, suddenly it doesn’t seem so urgent. Sure I’ll do the vacuuming, sweetie. Do you feel like pancakes?

I'm a goal setter - any one who happened upon my previous blog, The Year of a Million Words, would know that instantly. Back in September I set myself the goal of writing a first draft of Novel B by the time my short story collection, A Man Melting, was launched in May. Now the launch date has been pushed back to July (grumble, grumble). My thoughts are all over the place.

I spent snatches of this afternoon writing new goals on post-it notes.
Write 4 short stories before May.
Order every book on Eugen Sandow off Amazon tonight.
Spend a minimum of one hour a day in my office.

I think I’ll do this last one. I have a calendar from the Broken River Ski Club hanging above my desk. I will cross off every day I succeed. I will leave blank the days I fail. At the end of February I will tell you what percentage of days I spent a minimum of an hour alone in my office. You may laugh at me now; you may laugh at me at the end of February.

I will outgrow this. Soon, I hope I will not need such ploys to be productive. There will be projects. But for now, I must resort to such things.

I must get my hands on hours and hours of music I’ve never heard before and load it onto my hard drive. I must find comfort in the view from my office window at dusk. I must wean myself off jumpy NBA feeds and infra-red sword fighting. I must go and help with the dishes, then iron my shirts for the rest of the week… It’s been, like, an hour and five minutes, man.

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