Every now and again I take a break from writing.
When it reaches the point where just the thought of opening a .doc makes me want to a) vomit, b) slit my wrists with a bic pen lid and c) take everyone in the house with me on the journey down, I know it’s possibly time for me to step away from the WiP.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. I have other things to do: canoes to paddle, guitars to torture, dogs to wash, children to reconnect with, beer to brew. Computer games to play.
It’s hard to write if you don’t actually get out and do stuff that doesn’t involve writing. That image of the guy dressed in black, locked in his studio, banging away at his typewriter with a half-empty bottle of whiskey at his elbow, fags long since turned to ash in his ashtray? You don’t want to be that guy.
Firstly, he’s really boring, and he’s probably writing a book about a guy who is writing a book.
Secondly no one invites him to parties because he talks about the book he’s writing where the main character is a sensitive, struggling writer, who can’t get a girl. Then when everyone ignores him talking about his boring book, he gets drunk and tries to molest the host’s poodle. Three days later he wakes up in a pool of someone else’s vomit and his typewriter’s been thrown out of his window and is now being turned into part of someone’s Dadaist first year art project.
We’ve all seen it happen.
Don’t let it happen to you.
And is there anything more boring than writing? (Except for golf) I mean, yeah. READING is fun, and reading something you wrote and going “oh hai this isn’t that bad!” is fantastic, but for me, writing is not some weird fugue where I lay down beautiful words in my special happy trance. It’s work, and like all jobs, somnetimes I’m good with that – I like being productive, and other times I would rather work out a way to dislocate my arm so I can practise licking my elbow.
When I hit elbow-licking stage, it’s a sure sign I need to stop being That Guy and go out and mingle with real people again; do stuff. Stuff that doesn’t involve being stuck inside my own head.
Of course, one of the best parts about being a writer is that all that stuff? You get to call it research.
That fantastic book you’re reading? Research.
That day-dreaming, lying on the beach, half-focusing on the surf? That’s research too.
That post-movie coffee in that new little eatery, catching up with the people who will still be seen publicly with you? Yep.
Don’t beat yourself up about taking a break and refilling the well. It’s a better use of your time than screaming at a blank screen and making yourself feel like shit.
Yep. You have the best job ever. Go out and enjoy it,