I don’t believe in writer’s block. I do believe in writer’s indecision.
This is the current writing/study sitrep:
- One novel MS finished. I have decreed it to be so, as I suspect I'm only rereading and changing it now because I don't want to let the characters go.
- One uni research project in progress, which should take priority because there’s an actual deadline and it’s the last assessable task for my Masters. And then I'll be DONE.
- Four diverse middle grade and YA projects at various stages, and I want to work on all of them - all the time, concurrently.
I know I should be doing the research project, I want to work on the fiction, and instead I’m writing this blog post and answering emails about septic tanks.
That's not a typo.
Working from home can be difficult – there are numerous animal, child and domestic distractions, and the perception that if you’re working from home you’re not actually 'working'. I switch off the internet when I write, but when people call home and mobile phones repeatedly to ask if I got the non-urgent email about the septic tank and can I answer it ASAP, it’s hard to ignore.
The main cause of my writer’s indecision is I know what I’m like - to concentrate on the research project I need a block of several hours uninterrupted by children, power outages and emails about septic tanks, and that won’t be happening today. And whichever fiction project I pick up will be all-consuming, and, again, that’s not happening today.
It wasn’t happening yesterday, either. I did get down some cohesive sentences, but, to be honest, most of that was transcribed from handwriting scrawled on the train on Sunday night.
Yesterday ended with me cleaning the house while listening to Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill and deciding it was the perfect soundtrack for an angry teenage girl character I’m writing. I’m classing that as research.
So I’m using this seemingly unproductive time today to work on other writing-related activities such as synopses, author bios, answering emails, looking up publishing opportunities, renewing library books, writing blog posts and catching up on social media – all the little things that would take up otherwise productive time for the rest of the week.
From tomorrow, I’m concentrating on the research project until it’s done. Then I can dedicate all my time to my fiction.
And that'll be one less decision to make.