Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Philip Norman
Work on the neverending book, The Disenchanted Wizard, has sludged to a halt again, though we're only inches (yards, metres?) from the finish line. I've been so busy with working on Opera Otago's production of Philip Norman's A Christmas Carol, that my brain is struggling to think about the book. Rehearsals every evening, and afternoons on the weekend as well, plus keyboard rehearsals - three so far, and two more to come - plus practice at home for the bits I can't play properly, plus being at home alone because my wife is in the UK attending to an unwell sister, and I'm having to do all the housework and feed myself. (No biggie, really. I do both of these regularly anyway! Just thought I'd throw that in.)

A note comes up on Gmail notifications regularly, telling me not to procrastinate on the book. But procrastinating is what I'm doing. Of course there's time to work on it; I'm just using all the above as excuses, because even though we're close to the finish line, there are some difficulties I have to deal with, and I'm not a person who's enthusiastic about difficulties.

There's only one way to overcome difficulties in writing, and that's to write. Deb Vanesse says, in her book, What Every Author Should KnowI hate saying this, out of fear of jinxing myself, but I’ve never suffered from writer’s block, which is in part a writer’s term for procrastination, often connected to your fears of vulnerability and failure. Once you call those fears out for what they are, you can write your way through pretty much any stuck point, and the bigger problem may become forging ahead with a project when you should have stopped to assess whether it was heading in the best possible direction.

And in a similar vein, Steven Pressfield, in his book, The War of Art, writes: Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it's the easiest to rationalize. We don't tell ourselves "I'm never going to write my symphony." Instead we say "I am going to write my symphony; I'm just going to start tomorrow." [He uses the word 'resistance' to signify all those things that appear to stand in the way of our producing good creative work.]

So there you go. Having been told off by Gmail, by Vanesse and Pressfield, I'll go off and....walk the dog.

Update, later the same day: After going on about procrastinating on the book earlier today, I must have prodded myself into gear, and by late afternoon, I'd done the revision work that was needed. And of course it wasn't nearly as difficult as I'd thought it would be. So Progress!

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