On Writing: productivity and inactivity

The beginning of 2016 had me swinging between productivity and inactivity. Productive in completing errands that are (extremely) dull but necessary in order to live, and putting off tasks that are enjoyable (reading for pleasure, writing with purpose) but only possible in a dream world where all the aforementioned don’t exist.

In short, I have found life always gets in the way, ‘real work’ always takes priority- leaving very little time (or energy) to sit and write. I have convinced myself that there must be a time-guzzling monster out there with a personal vendetta against me.

It’s not that I’m ever short of ideas, I mean, have you ever tried meeting a university assignment deadline? It’s a crazy creative process, you produce theories and conclusions for everything APART from the actual assignment you are due to hand in. Creative writing 101 tips advise us to sit and write, get it out of your system, write anything but just write- I admire people who can do that because whenever I try to seize the moment, I’m faced with the following:

1. How do I get started?

I can’t work with a single set of tools such as an old fashioned pen and pad.

For me, writing is produced from a combination of hand-writing and typing, which translates as: should I choose to have an aching hand today or throbbing eye pain? It’s a choice between doing things the extremely long-winded way: handwrite, type, edit, print, scribble, and repeat, or doing nothing at all.

2. Okay, I’ve got the pens, paper, laptop, inspiration – everything I could possibly need – now what?

My mood is a dictator.

Some of my attempts at humorous writing were driven by moments of intense emotional pain and grief, while more darker pieces were products of times when life was ‘perfect’. Speaking of memories of pain and happiness, nostalgia is another pain in the proverbial. I feel especially nostalgic (and grumpy) for a technology-free world where regular interruptions were far and few in between and my time was actually just that – my time.

3. The position of the sun…it affects everything!

The most productive period – in terms of quality – is early in the morning, after a decent breakfast, and preferably whilst everyone else is still half-dead to the world. I find that as the day progresses, I lose the will to live (let alone the will to write) and just want to snuggle up in a blanket with a hot drink. I’m simply too tired to care…

4. What is the problem, and I mean the real problem here?

I rarely feel satisfied. There’s always something missing and it’s never quite good enough to share with others. No matter how many times I go back and check it, the perfectionist in me will want to edit and edit until I’ve grown sick enough to toss it aside, only to come back later and cringe at my words! So it sits in my draft folder until it is Goldilocks-perfect.

On a happier note – despite having had little time to write since the start of 2016- I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching Hamlet this semester. I wonder why.

2 thoughts on “On Writing: productivity and inactivity”

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