The Fine Art of Procrastination

Many and compelling are the wise words that have been written on the subject of writer’s block and how to take a spiritual plunger to the clog in the cistern of your inspiration. I consider the whole debate to be seriously one-sided. There are advantages to creative constipation, although sadly the elimination of bad fiction is almost certainly not one of them. Rule 34 has seen to that.

Firstly, there is hygiene. There is no place cleaner than a frustrated artist’s living space. Even the Thing that has been growing behind the fridge for months, if not years, will be exterminated in the desperate attempt to avoid facing the mocking abyss of the blank page. Food preparation surfaces will sparkle, bathroom mirrors will be scraped clean of accumulated low-flying toothpaste spittle. Loose change will be retrieved from the back of the sofa and triumphantly pocketed, if still legal tender. If not, the blockee will be seen clutching something in one hand as they wander around the house in search of the empty jam jar or biscuit tin once reserved by the family for such coinage, to cries of “Didn’t Jenny use to collect this stuff?”

Then there is exercise. Since sitting in front of  an unresponsive keyboard is unbearable, movement becomes essential. The dog will be walked. Regularly. Indeed, it may get more fresh air and thrown sticks than it wants. It will be at this point that the writer realises that it is time to cut down on the tobacco and fries, as both they and the aged, reluctant pooch wheeze their way up the hill to the nearest hostelry accepting sofa currency in exchange for a quick refresher.

Eager to do something creative, the blockee may well participate in cookery using real ingredients instead of microwaved pizzas. They may contemplate writing a cookery book instead, until the mind-numbing boredom of writing out lists of ingredients and checking equivalents in Celsius, Fahrenheit and Gas Mark wins out and it is solemnly sworn that if ever a cookbook is published in their name, it will be the same as everyone else’s: ruthlessly recopied from other books with minimum alteration and accompanied by big glossy pictures. This also is a Good Thing. The world needs fewer and better cookery books.

In the end, inspiration will as usual strike at about 1 a.m. and it’s back to living approximately 9 hours out of sync with the real world again. Why do we bother?

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