Delay Tactics

Okay, I admit it…I’m procrastinating again…  I picked up a book,

…and decided I need to read up.  Here’s what Amazon says about the book…

 In Process, acclaimed journalist Sarah Stodola examines the creative methods of literature’s most transformative figures. Each chapter contains a mini biography of one of the world’s most lauded authors, focused solely on his or her writing process. Unlike how-to books that preach writing techniques or rules, Process puts the true methods of writers on display in their most captivating incarnation: within the context of the lives from which they sprang. Drawn from both existing material and original research and interviews, Stodola brings to light the fascinating, unique, and illuminating techniques behind these literary behemoths.

Oh, I wanna be like them!  Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, F. Scott Fitzgerald…not Hemingway, though.  (hemingway was an ass)  The author goes through each individual’s process, many of whom procrastinate like crazy before they finally sit down and put pen to paper, so I feel like I’m in good company.

Nearly all of the more current authors have methods to keep themselves from falling into the black hole of the internet.  Zadie Smith first used apps to monitor her time online and eventually withdrew completely.  Margaret Atwood has two computers in her office:  one with internet, one without.  She allows herself 10 minutes each day on Twitter, which she thinks is the best social media platform,  and is involved with some online writing forums, but otherwise has disciplined herself to look away.

It covers a lot of oldtimers, too. Edith Wharton famously wrote in bed every morning, tossing each full page of writing on the floor for the help to pick up and take to the typist.  F. Scott wrote for $$ and revised or even rewrote when Max Perkins suggested.

Fascinating stuff, I tell you, and a perfect way to avoid writing, but hey, Toni Morrison usually has most of her books written in her head before she sits down to write.  Yeah, I’m just like her.

In the guise of research, I have googled 1890s and 1900s so often that Mr.G blithely fills in the blanks for me:  fashion, morals, entertainment.  I am immersed in imagining life at the turn of the 20th century, what they wore, how they traveled, what music they listened to…   It’s a sure-fire distraction, as I sit tapping my foot to Ragtime…

But ultimately, people are people in every decade or era.  They grow up to be products of their culture, but inside they struggle, just like me, to figure out how to rise above their circumstances.

So, I gotta get back to the actual writing…or maybe dance…

Peace