First up, the glitch mentioned in earlier posts with Amazon and a couple of other on-line retailers selling out of 'Tug' seems to have been solved and we are now back in business. Copies of the book have been thudding down onto doormats in Dublin, Paris, (hopefully) Singapore and everywhere in between. Hope you enjoy it, guys!
Now, back to the main event - the 'P' word: procrastination. We all do it - in fact, since becoming writers some of us do it even more than we used to. It has gone beyond a mere distraction and become virtually an art form in its own right. As an English student, I'd thought I was on top of the game, not able to sit down and really focus (okay, so I was an arts student, focus is relative) but still, not really get going unless the room was tidy,my laundry had been done, my eyebrows plucked and - although this was where it started it get really desperate, my fringe was trimmed.
These days I don't have a fringe, but I do have the internet - and this has taken the possibilities of procrastination to a whole new level. Now before I can start work (dusting, bathroom cleaning, eyebrow-plucking not withstanding) I need to check the e-mail (two accounts), read FaceBook (two accounts), have a quick look at the blog and the website and finally, take a butchers at the on-line weather forecast...and after that, it is probably time to check the e-mails again before I can get down to work with a clear conscience that NOTHING is going to distract me.
Till I need a coffee. Or the phone rings. Or the washing machine stops. Or I see a split end and know that I won't settle until it has been removed from my person.
But this got me thinking: I've had wireless internet on my lap-top for over a year now but my procrastination time hasn't actually increased despite the fact I could easily spend the whole of my working time fussocking about on the web. In fact, certain sites that I used to religiously visit on a daily basis are now never even glanced at. Also, if I cast my mind back to the days when I had a laptop so ancient it virtually worked by steam-power, I used to begin each session by reading a page or two of whatever book was currently sitting by the bedside to 'get me in the mood'.
So I began to wonder if a certain frame of mind is essential if you're going to have a productive working session - and if that frame of mind is produced by surfing the net, clearing your in-box or painting your toe-nails then so be it. Also - and this is the clever bit - what if the procrastination 'breaks' that inevitabley occur in the middle of a session are actually something far more creative, and give your brain the time it needs to get to grips with whatever tricky little problems are bugging you in the middle of a session.
I remember reading in a magazine that short 'alpha breaks', when you find yourself staring out of the window are actually really important. It is during these moments of apparent inactivity that our brainwave pattern physically alters and our sub-conscious dashes around like mad, while we sit there with a glazed expression plastered over our faces. It is the reason why you can return to a crossword clue that has bugged you for days and suddenly see the answer staring you in the face.
So maybe the fussocking and furreting does have a purpose after all. I'll let you know...after I've made that next cup of coffee.