So, today I sat down to write something and simply stared at the page and watched the little cursor blink at me. Nothing happened. It was a little bit anti-climatic. But it did give me inspiration for my first blog post, so that was nice.
After shooting off my manuscript to my publisher last week (one hand over my eyes and a glass of wine close by as I clicked ´send´) I´d let myself have a week of downtime after the craziness of starting a new job, surviving Nanowrimo, Christmas, New Year and a big edit of The New Book. I imagined myself catching up on some reading, getting back into the gym and actually leaving my house. In reality, downtime meant I finished a new play through of my favourite Xbox game. But that´s beside the point.
So, excitedly rubbing my hands together, butt on my chair to take part in a new project over at Ylva, nothing happened.
I got up and stared in the fridge. I made a coffee, then felt sick because (maybe) I had already had two before that. I opened the fridge again, in case anything had changed (it hadn´t, in case you were wondering).
I don´t know if this happens to all writers, but pretty much everyone I´ve spoken to has experienced this, so I´ll go out on a limb and say we´ve all been there. It´s not what I´d call writer´s block. Writer´s block is something I imagine takes over for weeks or months or years (ah!) at a time. It´s that period where words sit at the back of your mind, ethereal yet beating at some kind of barrier you don´t know how to tear down. Though that´s just my interpretation.
Today, I just didn´t have any words at all.
There are days I sit down and forget there´s another world existing around me. Hours pass, and all I know are the characters in my mind and the words on the screen in front of me and the clicking of keys. My mind fills with a place I don´t even plot, it just takes up residence in my head and demands to fall on the page. Suddenly, I´ll look up and my neck will crick and I´ll realise I haven´t moved in far too long. I could have written six thousand words and sometimes I´ll read back and be surprised it was me that wrote them, because I wasn´t really thinking as I did so. Then I´ll run to the bathroom as I remember I forgot about that, too.
This is how a lot of All the Little Moments was written.
Then there are days I open the fridge nineteen times and drink five coffees and play with the page settings so it feels like I achieved something. It reminds me of my uni days in which I´d sit down to write my five-thousand word essay. I would write the contents and the heading then go to the pub because apparently I´d done enough for the day. Formatting is such hard work.
This is how a lot of The New Book has been written.
Some days, writing comes naturally and others it´s like pulling a cat out of your cupboard that doesn´t want to leave—any cat people reading this will know what I mean.
So, after an hour and a half and another coffee, I decided to stop trying to force something that wasn´t coming, and wrote a word, the first word, that entered my head. Then decided to write a few more with that word, and I wrote a weird little, almost fairy tale with the goal to stick to 100 words exactly. Feel free to go read it here.
Or, instead, feel free to comment on the weird days you just couldn´t get your words to do what you wanted them to. And your best procrastination techniques—because I need some new ones.