Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Ten things I should never do whilst writing, but do, every time.

Writing is a struggle, and I love making it harder for myself. Here's a list of foolish things I do with startling regularity.

1. Have another cup of coffee.
My writing time usually pans out this way...
First cup: "Great idea! Wow, that's sharp. It'll take some work, but I think this is going to be a decent piece of fiction."
Second cup: "Yeah, I'm gonna get this done today. I mean, my time is running out, but I've got more than enough to finish. It's just a first draft, after all. It could use more polish though..."
Third cup: "The kids will be up soon, and all I've got down is this awful lump of exposition. Right, concentrate. Come on. COME ON! There's no hurry, there's no deadline... but there is. The deadline is now. Before now. Why isn't it finished?
Fourth cup: "This is shit. I am shit."

2. Start editing before the first draft is done.
Ah, the joys of getting down four hundred words, then cutting three hundred, refining the remaining hundred, and ending up with "The night was dark. Well dark."

3. Check on my book sales.
Sometimes they've gone up, most of the time they haven't. That still doesn't stop me checking three or four times an hour. Each time the sales are static I die a little inside. If I sell a couple, great! Well, for about a minute... then I check again.

4. Check on my friend's book sales.
Sort of the inverse of the point above, but just as soul destroying. Since I started publishing stories I've gotten to know a lot of lovely authors, all of whom, no matter how stellar (and deserving of success) they are as people, I compare to myself with a vicious jealousy. Thanks to amazon, I can now pinpoint to the nth degree exactly how crap I am compared to them.

5. Think of an idea for something else.
And plot it. And re-plot it. Give it a title. Do a working book cover. Discard the book cover. Discard the plot. Discard the idea. Congratulations Jake! You just wasted your only free three hours this week.

6. Look at facebook/twitter/emails.
It's all the same, just wasted time. I remember being bored, back in the dusty annals of time. I haven't been 100% bored since 2007. After all, now there's always a news article about someone I don't care about to read.

7. Watch Match of the Day on Iplayer whilst writing.
Can't be done. "The mercenary bared his teeth at the oncoming monstrosity. The sunken eyes. The haggard features. It could only be... Martin Skrtel."

8. Open Steam.
I'll just check the daily sale. No, nothing good. Oh, I seem to have an abundance of games installed, none of which I’ve played. I’ll have to rectify that now, otherwise something will happen, something bad. Yes, I’m sure.

9. Stare into space.
No one knows what’s going through my mind when I do this, least of all me.

10. Throw in the towel and watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Because there’s a sentient box of chips called “Frylock”.

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