Wednesday 29 January 2014

Welcome to the Procrastination Station

Hello again, I am rigidly sticking to my resolve to update this blog once a week. Which is more then can be said for my resolve to work hard and write this book. Still, here is the tale of how well I have done in my attempts to beat the procrastination fairies this week.

I realised that all help is going to be good help, and signed up for a future learn course in beginning creative writing after receiving an email from them. I had already signed up to one of their courses in programming apps for february, in another fit of “oh woe is me, what can I do with my life that will be fun and slightly profitable?” The writing one starts immediately off the back of that one, so I shall be busy in the springtime. This will afford all new excuses for not writing what I am supposed to. It is of course a stretch for someone with such a massive superiority complex as myself to admit that a “beginning” course is something I should ever need, my ego tells me I have been doing this for over 25 years. Luckily the other half of my brain has pointed out to me that “beginning” is the only part of it I can ever do, but sadly they don't do a “Getting on with it and finishing the bloody thing” creative writing course, so there you go, I'll have to do this one instead.

I also managed, straight off the back of my last blog, to agree to a dep gig with a band I saw a month or so ago, which will involve me learning an entire set of original material that I have never heard, from scratchy mp3 recordings that you can't hear the bass on. This is on top of the dep gigs I already have lined up this month which I have not yet learned the new songs for, and the new band I'm putting together, and the band I'm already in, and of course my burgeoning lack of career with PlasticSquirrel.

I did indeed manage to clear out the summer house into the old leaky studio shed. I also ripped out the sodden carpets from said shed, and snapped the legs off my sideboard in the process. Still, managed to prop it up again, so it'll be fine. Had I bothered to empty it and take the draws out before trying to single-handedly throw it around over the carpet as it came out, it would still be in one piece. As it is, I had to do some clever stuff with a car jack, and ask Netty to come out and help me to sort that one out.

Having cleared it out, I then decided it needed some road-testing, unfortunately that involved a 4-pack of Guinness and my Grandfather's old copy of The Screwtape Letters that I didn't know I had. That was an enjoyable hour or so, though not so productive. Obviously I then had to put the studio together in its new temporary home in my neighbour's barn conversion. Which took care of Sunday afternoon fairly nicely. And Friday night and Saturday night, are Friday night and Saturday night, and therefore sacred, no work, plenty of drinks.

Last Thursday I came close to getting some work done, but I wrote the first part of this blog instead, and then listened to Zoot Allures by Frank Zappa for inspiration. There's been a lot of that. I've always been a firm believer that to write interesting stories you need to do your research, which helpfully involves reading other peoples stories while listening to records and drinking wine. Other lovely methods include watching movies and TV shows while drinking wine (or cider). I have been doing a lot of research over the last week, it has been good.

This research involved 2 J.K. Rowling books this week, and I came to the conclusion (when I was about 3 quarters of the way through The Cuckoo's Calling) that she had clearly written The Casual Vacancy as a smokescreen to keep people off the scent of Robert Galbraith. What with it being a bit humdrum run of the mill and riddled with stereotypes I figured that she just chucked any old thing out there so people wouldn't be nosing after her next good book. Sadly, by the end of The Cuckoo's Calling I realised that she had in fact lost it a bit. It is a really good book up until the explanations of what happened come out, and then it's predictably unpredictable bollocks.

Anyhow, the long and the short of it is I have not plotted any more of this book in the last week, and tonight is the first bit of time I have had to sit down and do any work. But I am writing this instead. I remain lord high procrastinator of the Shires of Devon, and I challenge anyone to steal this title from me.

(I have also resolved to use italics more, I hope you enjoyed them).

Thursday 23 January 2014

A beginning of unbridled lack of possibilities

So, once again a new year rolls in, and as I blearily get up for work every morning I think to myself “There has to be a better way to live than this”, and once again I try and think of a way to use my not inconsiderable talents to make money and be happier.

And once again, I think I should write something. This year however, I have a distinct advantage. I had a look at my laptop, and apparently in last years desire to do something worthwhile I managed to knock out yet another opening chapter of yet another novel (the number of currently unfinished novels I have on hard drives and bits of paper round my house seems to number 6 or 7, the number which have more than the opening chapter currently stands at 2).

So, in an attempt to prove my 1st year english teacher (Mr Beavis) correct in his assumption that I had “a real gift for creative writing”, and my 6th form history teacher (Mrs Fursman) right that I had “an ear for the felicitous phrase”, I intend to actually follow through and finish this one.

This blog will now become a document of procrastinatory fun for me, as I can write this to tell the world how badly I am getting on with doing any real work, instead of doing any real work. Having generally always got stuck after the 1st chapter (I'm very good at setting the scene, just no idea what the actual scene is afterwards usually) I have a plan.

This time, I am plotting, rather than trying to let it unfold in front of me. I am not 17 anymore, and the ideas come at me in dribs and drabs now, rather than fully formed in hallucinogenic visions. Probably because I had so many of them back in the day. So I am spending my evenings writing endless character back stories, so I know what they will do before they do it, and hellishly intricate plot ideas, before screwing them all together into one big mash of fun. It is a whole new form of procrastination, which me and Rizla enjoy a lot. Rizla enjoys it because the best way to think of good ideas is to walk for hours on the moors, and she, being a dog, enjoys that kind of thing. I being a very forgetful bloke, enjoy it less, as I've normally forgotten all those good ideas by the time we get back home again.

This weekends plan is to clear out the summer house into the old leaky studio shed, so I have somewhere nice to work, as it has a lovely view over the moors, and a very comfy chair. Very enjoyable procrastination indeed.

So wish me luck, I might manage it this time, and then I can watch as it fails as badly as all my musical endeavours to date have managed to.

Chin up.