The Therapy Diaries Chapter 14: Writing About Being Unable to Write

I was going to write a piece about my top 5 Stephen King novels. I still will, just not yet. I was going to write a piece about some of the excellent books I’ve read recently. I still will, just not yet. I was going to just dump a load of quotes that I like on a piece of paper and call it a blog entry. I still will, just not yet.

I do not know what I’m writing.

I know why I’m writing: procrastination. I just don’t know what.

You see, I’ve had an idea for a novel. I’m not going to go into it here, but suffice it to say I think it’s a really good one, and I’m really excited to write it. The problem is, I just can’t be bothered to write it. The actual fact of sitting here, in this very chair, typing on the very same keys I’m typing on to produce this piece of writing, the thought fills me with a malaise I can’t quite place.

Perhaps it’s that spring has finally come; I’m writing this on Easter Sunday, 8:09am, just back from walking the dog in glorious sunshine. The weather has turned nice the last few days; it’s been dry, sunny to the tune of 20 degree (Celcius, not Fahrenheit , obviously), and the wind has died down. It’s been pretty perfect spring weather to be fair. And I think that’s what’s sapping my motivation: I don’t want to be here, in the study, hunched over my laptop. I want to be out there, in nature! I want to be amongst the grass and trees and flowers. I want to be with the insects, the animals, the people. I want to be out in the world, experiencing it. I want to live in it.

The thing about winter in England, particularly the North of England, is that it’s an endurance sport. October isn’t too bad, because you’re looking forward to Halloween, plus it’s only just started to get properly dark and cold, so you’re still transitioning. November and December are pretty grim, but the prospect of Christmas and New Year, having a few days off work, getting to sit around and eat chocolate and be a fat shit for a few days, makes the time worth bearing.

But that’s it. Once we’ve all returned to work, on the 2nd or 3rd or whenever of January, that’s when you see true British winter. There’s no hope. There’s nothing to look forward to. There’s nothing to bring us out of the cold, desolate, isolation that is January and February. The days are dark, cold; some days, they’re so grim it feels like the sun hasn’t even come up. It feels like, some days, the sun has stayed away, and the best thing we could do would be to do the same. Those are the days I want to be stuck up here in the study, heating on full, cat on the windowsill, dog at my feet, typing words that become sentences that become stories that become lives. Right now, I want to read in the garden. It’s a hard life.

Ignoring the weather, for me at least there are three states of being when it comes to writing:

  1. I have an idea, but not motivation (me right now)
  2. I have motivation, but no idea (incredibly frustrating)
  3. I have both motivation and an idea (absolute dream world, crack on my friend)

I’m currently in stage 1. I have an idea, I’m plotting the whole thing out in my head, but I just can’t be fucking bothered to sit and type it out. Even typing this is boring as shit to me right now, I’m simply pressing keys and watching the word count rise to a level I feel is an acceptable one to stop at. I apologise if you’ve read this far. I’ve wasted your time.

Would that the three states of being were a guarantee of progression. If I could sit here and think “it’s all good, state three will happen tomorrow, or next week, or whenever.” But, alas, it doesn’t work like that. Stage three will come when it comes; it may never come. It may appear on a day when I don’t have the time to sit and write, and be gone by the time I do.

Writing is a shitstorm of circumstance; I need multiple dominoes to fall into place before I can put pen to paper.

I’m ending this blog here, and I’m going to go read my book. In a Country of Mothers by AM Homes. If she’s written a bad book, I’m yet to read it. Enjoy your Sunday; I’m going to do my damnedest to enjoy mine.

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