Drastic Solution

Well, I’ve discovered the cure for procrastination. Get yourself admitted to hospital on the point of collapse, have to spend a week there, and there two weeks recovering. Bit drastic, I admit…

It turned out my Ulcerative Colitis wasn’t as dormant as I liked to think and a couple of weeks of ago I found myself in hospital, hooked up to various drips and utterly unable to go anywhere or do anything. This, for me, was highly frustrating.

But, as I lay in the ward, I watched and listened. It was an utterly new environment to me and I found myself surrounded by new people, new situations, new reactions – new everything. And as I lay there, listening, watching, bit by bit, stories came to me….

Normally my first reaction to getting a new story in my head is ‘write it, write it now!’. But this time I couldn’t. All I could do was lay there, observe and then daydream. As a result, the story in my head became more complex, more layered. I had time to play with it and twist it and add to it. I think the enforced stillness not only stimulated my imagination, but forced me to be more creative with the actual story.

I’m home now, and writing. The story in my head took enough shape that once I had access to pen and paper, I could write up characters, a basic plot and a few scenes, and it’s ready to be written.

I remember saying that I didn’t understand how all those great writers who suffered from illnesses had the strength to write. That was a massive misunderstanding on my part. All that illness forced them first, to notice every little detail of the world around them– how people think and feel, what the world feels and smells like, what difference just some flowers can make. Then the stillness of them lives threw them back into their own minds, and gave them the time to weave complex tales.

It’s not a cure for procrastination I’d recommend. But it is fascinating how a total, if temporary change of circumstances can stimulate a writer’s mind.


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