According to the blog schedule I wrote for myself, I should be posting some original fiction today. To put it bluntly, I got nothing. Call it a block, call it negative inspiration, heck, call it anything you want - I'm just not writing. I am not without some self-discipline, however, so I headed over the best place for writing prompts and exercises I've ever had pointed out to me, Toasted Cheese. It was simply too perfect that the first item on their 2007 exercises archive was to make a list of the things I do when I should be writing.
1. Surf the net. Well, duh, huh? This wasn't much of a problem until two or three weeks ago, when I finally installed a wireless router in my house. My darling little iBook doesn't have an airport card, and the wired modem was on a different floor from my writing space, so when I sat down to right, I was not connected to the net. Now, because of changes brought on by my partner's work requirements, the wired modem sits right next to me. I'm hooked up all the time. And hooked is exactly the right word to use.
2. Bake. I justify it because it's certainly cheaper to make home made goodies and just because I'm trying to eat better/eat less doesn't mean everyone in the family needs to give up the chocolate and butter and sugar and all that other yummy stuff, right? And, I've always found that cooking clears my mind for new ideas. It's probably that "use a different part of your brain" thing. But, using the quiet alone time to do something that would be better served when the family is actually around to eat the stuff is a bad health choice and a bad use of my time.
3. Watch old movies on TV. This is another "but it helps me write!" lie I tell myself when I'm doing it to avoid work. Yes, I get some good ideas, considering my main character in one novel is over a hundred years old. I do need to experience his culture, and movies are a great way to see what he's seen change. But I show so little discrimination in what I watch, it's obvious I'm avoiding work, not doing something to move it forward.
4. Research for other people. I love to research. To avoid work, I'll volunteer to do research for other people's writing. I could spend the time doing my own research, but that would mean facing that I wasn't using the research, so I avoid that bit of self-recrimination by working for someone else. I can say I'm working, and I'm helping other writers and that's good, right? Not at the expense of my own work, and I damn well know it.
This little list would serve no purpose if I don't use what I've learned here to fix the problem, so here goes.
1) Unplug the Ethernet cord during a scheduled work time. Sure I could plug it right back in, but I do have some pride and self control. If I take a physical action to stop the addiction, I can see the problem and the solution. Sometimes you have to see the scars before you can stop cutting.
2) I'm not going to stop doing something I love to do for my family. But, I can get it out of my system in larger blocks, freeing up larger blocks for writing.
3) Use some of my research skills to figure out what to watch, when it's on, schedule the time, and then NO MORE!
4) Just say no. If I stop volunteering, I know I'll be asked. I can say no. If I'm not helping other people, I'll have to help myself.