My name is Matt. And I’m a procrastinator.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Writing fiction is not the daydreamer’s paradise that films and TV let you believe. It’s hard. Some days it’s a trudge. It’s human nature to avoid things that are difficult, and writing is no different.
When I’m writing and the going starts to gets to tough – when I don’t know what’s going to happen next or everything I’m writing reads like it was created by Google Translate, suddenly the garden needs weeding or I need to rearrange my bookshelf. I should really mop the kitchen floor! Anything to avoid that damn screen.
I haven’t posted on this blog for a few months. That could be a result of the above, but my good excuse is that I’ve been writing. While I’ve heard from a lot of authors that they are struggling to write during these COVID days – that they are finding it hard to be creative – I have been hitting the desk nearly every day. Not because I’ve wanted to, but because I’ve forced myself to. Each day I remind myself of all those times when I’m busy with work and find it hard to make time to write. Now I have lots of time because my freelance work has dropped off considerably. So, I’m making the most of it and sitting down in front of the computer every day and banging out words. If I’m not producing content, I’m researching. My current work-in-progress is requiring a lot more research than I expected. It’s set overseas and, it seems, the more the story unfolds, the more research I have to do. What does such-and-such location look like? (Google Street View) How long does it take to get from location 1 to location 2 by cab? (Google Maps) What is the weather like in September? (weather-atlas.com).
Also, I’ve been going for long walks each morning and keeping myself motivated with writing-related podcasts, particularly The First Time, Words and Nerds and So You Want to Be a Writer. I find it helps to start the day with a little fresh air and a dose of writing inspiration.
Still, it’s difficult to keep my bum in the seat sometimes, but writing is giving me a real sense of accomplishment. It’s the fact that it’s hard that makes it so rewarding.
This year my plan is to finish drafts of two more manuscripts. A big task, I know. But I’m well on my way. I’m conscious that (paid) work will ramp up again soon, so I really need to make the most of the days I have right now. Watching the word count rise helps, but it’s that feeling at the end of the day that I’ve achieved something that matters most. Maybe the word count for the day will be low, but if I’ve had a major breakthrough story-wise, that’s golden.