The thoughts, stories and advice of Bill Riddell.


October 17th, 2011 Posted in writing

Diary entry Sunday 31st of October 2010:

Sometimes I think if I just sit here and hammer the keys enough ill be a writer. It isn’t quite so easy, but really in essence its not that much harder either.

Lots of people can sit at a computer and write trash all day long, without hassle. Others can occasionally write a good passage but are crippled by negative thoughts that prevent them from stringing those passages together day after day.

I’m the later. For a writer there are weeks where I do not do any productive writing at all. Those days that I do manage to write I either write on auto-pilot and its crap or I’m so constantly talking to myself, telling my subconscious to shut the fuck up, that I cant get anything good out either.

On the rare day that things just click I will chain myself to the computer and write all day – finding the balance is hard. Really really hard. Impossible.

Just hammering out this is hard…

I just sat and looked at that last unfinished sentence for 10 minutes, contemplating not resuming or deleting this whole ensemble of words for good. Right now I’m thinking I should interrupt this writing by grabbing something to eat. Then I need to change the sheets on my bed and I need to watch some stuff on my TiVO. I don’t really need to do any of those things right now, but my brain is trying to distract me. I swear its jealous of my writing or something.

Sometimes i trick it by staring out the window noticing the trees wave, birds come and go and the leaves fall while out of view my fingers work in a flurry writing away. Right now I can see the Japanese maple waving at me and I can hear a bird somewhere calling out… A part of my brain wants to go and look for it, but another part is not telling my body to get up, it wants to keep writing.

It feels like a split personality… A part of me wants to write, but the other more powerful side doesn’t. It keeps talking shit and finding distractions… Look something shiny. Forget the writing, lets google something.

Occasionally it pretends to play nice. Good job you’ve written 200 words today, lets celebrate – how about we watch a movie, you don’t even need to watch it all now, just watch the first 20 minutes, go back and write another 200 and catch another 20 minutes… Good deal right? Wrong . Brain knows that 20 minutes will most likely drag on. Even when I do return to the writing I’ll sit at the screen once again thinking I should delete it all. Then I feel bad at that thought so I just sit and think some more. I might get an idea of something better to write so ill open a new document and hammer out a quick overview of this new brain wave. I’ll return to it in a few days time, maybe.

Looking back on this I feel like I am making progress, that I’m improving not just my writing but just as importantly my writing habits. But there is still a lot of improvement needed. I’m working on another draft of my first novel. It’s simultaneously incredibly frustrating, but also very reqarding to see the book take shape and improve in readability and story flow. In the mean time I’ve written a few new short stories, I hope to share them soon.

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