In Mark Haddon’s new book, The Red House, one of the characters imagines writers sitting around in their dressing gown all day, trying to resist the distraction of daytime TV.
Considering how much we all enjoy writing, it’s amazing what writers will actually do to put off the moment of sitting down to write. I know I’ll love it when I start, I know I’ll feel great afterwards, but I do find myself putting the actual sitting down to write moment off.
In the past, to avoid writing, I have gone to the theatre (very enjoyable), cleaned the entire flat (not so enjoyable), done the laundry, fallen asleep, gone shopping (to the big shop miles away, not the little shop downstairs), done all my mending, ironing (ironing! I hate ironing) and gone to Hampton Court (bit excessive, but also very enjoyable).
I have tried to coax myself into it – ‘Just ten minutes, that’s all. You can manage ten minutes’. I have tried telling myself off ‘Stop messing about it and just do it!’. I have tried rewards ‘do five pages and you can have this chocolate bar’.
I know I’ll love it when I start, it’s just that moment of starting is difficult. It’s good to know I’m not the only writer to suffer this.