We have all, at some point, battled procrastination. Honestly, me typing this is a clever and ultimately pointless attempt at avoiding doing the proper writing of a proper book that I’ve been putting off some 20 years now. It isn’t that I don’t want to, but when one — or all — of those squirrels pokes their cute furry head in my line of vision, I am powerless to resist.
Like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, these squirrels will destroy humanity given the chance. I HATE them, but they are so bloody irresistible.
Hey! Remember that disagreement you had with that person at work 15 years ago; wouldn’t it be fun to replay it over and over with every conceivable outcome?
Well, not massively — no. Sounds like a meaningless and ultimately damaging way to spend time that I could be writing that story you keep on at me about, Squirrel.
Work with me, try it. From the top: we’ll start with the actual outcome, move on to a situation where your sparkling wit and repartee win the day and down the line we’ll get to the situation where you end up on the roof, shirtless and shouting abuse at the pigeons.
Thirty minutes later, adrenaline surging from an argument that never happened with people I’m never likely to meet again I’m far too angry to even contemplate writing. Besides, all that fighting has left me a bit peckish.
Maybe a bit of a feed will ease your troubled mind and give you a chance to work out that plot-hole that’s been eluding you?
OK, I asked my wife to stop buying snacks because all too often I find myself elbow deep in a tube of Pringles when I’m not actually that hungry; BUT I know that she knows that when I ask her ‘not to buy snacks’ what I actually mean is buy the snacks anyway and hide them somewhere I can easily find them.
And so, like Bear Grylls, I embark on a dangerous quest to find the forbidden treats to feed my rapidly expanding and not at all empty tummy with food I don’t even particularly like.
Disgusted with myself, having still not done any writing, what could possibly make me feel worse?
I’m sure it will be different this time, all the arseholes will be gone, and it’ll be just the nice people online. A quick peek, maybe send a reply or two, then on with that story. I PROMISE!
Two hours later, 300 replies deep into an argument between two people I don’t know regarding a subject I couldn’t care less about, there’s only one thing left to try to get those creative juices flowing.
_Don’t think of it as time asleep. What will happen is you’ll enter into a meditative state, that sweet spot between reality and imagination. The ideas will flow, you definitely won’t forget any of them, and you’ll be back on track. _
An hour later, unsure of who I am and what year it is — let alone being creator of worlds and plotter of twists — I wipe the drool that’s pooled in my ear and try to work out where it all went wrong? No point in doing anything now, it’s the school run in an hour.