Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday Twaddle - Pause for thought.

Firstly, a quick meet and greet. I'm Leigh and I'll be bringing you The Tuesday Twaddle every second and forth Tuesday of the month. Yay!  You’ll have read all the wonderful entries into the blog by my amazing and talented writer friends.  They’ve given you knowledge, insight, and shared their enlightening experiences.  Me on the other hand, well I’m just not that kind of blogger.  I suck at being serious, so I keep to the funny/acerbic side of life.  I’ll bring you tales of woe and joy as they happen to me on my path to being the best Young Adult writer to hit the shelves since they invented shelves (excluding of course all the other wonderfully talented writers who form YAtopia… and any other writer who graces these pages with their presence, you guys rock too!).
My title ‘Pause for thought’ was inspired by my current state of ‘pause’.  As I see it, writing involves lots of pauses.  Pauses haunt writers, whether it is pauses on inspiration, the dreaded long pause of writer’s block, pauses for making the kids dinner, or seeing to a neglected spouse. Pauses for contemplation, or divine interventions.  Currently, I’m on an epic pause.  And for every moment I’m on that ‘epic pause’ I’m stressing about reaching that play button.  I hate pause.  It kills inspiration, momentum, thought process, and creativity.  At this moment, I’d sell my soul for a cloven hoof to find that remote and release me from this rather uncomfortable position, but as yet I’m still holding steady, mid run, with the distorted face and semi midflight look about me. 
Here are some of my ‘Pause’ factors.
P – Procrastination – I know when I get that email I’ve been so desperately waiting for, I will automatically be able to write what I want, when I want, so there’s no point in trying now. Next week will be a much more creative week for me, I just know it.
A – Anything but syndrome - Let’s make a coffee and then I’ll rearrange the desk, Oh and check my emails.  Um, maybe I should ring my mom.  Eww, what’s that pong? Oh the cat litter tray needs seeing to…  You get my drift.
U –Unadulterated – Whereby you’re waiting for the perfect moment to write.  The house is too quiet, I just don’t feel inspired. So, we’re off the library to absorb some much needed knowledge that seeps from the walls, but it’s too cold and quite frankly a little on the whiffy side.  Oh and I need a new laptop, the keys on this one just don’t feel right.  My excuses on my quest for the ‘perfect’ writing set up are endless.
S – Social Media – I can totally justify my spending hours on end on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, MySpace, and all those other platforms.  They are the lifeblood for the want-to-be writer.  But man do they suck you dry of drive and imagination. And, nicely fulfills my P, A, and U requirements.
E – Editing – There’s nothing like a couple of rounds of savage editing and rewrites to make you go into a stall pattern.  The inspiration numbing sensation of self doubt mingles uneasily with panic and turns your brain to a big curdled lumpy mess of cottage cheese.
Now I’ve identified my pause issues, I’m sure I’ll be able to pull myself together and finish that sequel that’s been leering at me for the past two months.  And I will, as soon as I get that new Elbow album I’ve been waiting for, arrange for the delivery of my new laptop, answer all my emails, identify the location of the repugnant smell in my study, update my Facebook profile, and do all my #ff’s (followfriday for the uninitiated) on Twitter.  Wow, I’m feeling better about it already. Let's get going!
Right, firstly I’ll make pot of coffee and then I'll get right on that... I swear. 

I'd love to know what makes your evil subconscious press the pause button on you, and what you do to reanimate yourself.  Please, do share your secrets! Good Lord I need them.


  1. I wish I had a secret to reveal about how to get out of "PAUSE" mode, but your post hit way, way, way too close to home for me!!! Especially the "P".

  2. Even to know I'm not alone is something. Oh Wendy, I so need to find the remote! LOL. Todays Snow day soooo not helping matters.

  3. I never get anything done during the day anyway, because I always have at least one child and I can only write when I'm completely alone. So that leaves the evenings, unless the hubby is feeling sociable. So by the time I'm alone it's late and my biggest excuse is that I'M TIRED! And that stupid pile of laundry is staring at me. I'm amazed that I ever managed to get a book written in the first place.
    We'll be back on our game soon, I just know it!!!

  4. 1st Tuesday Twaddle!! well done :) nice twaddle. These snow days will just have to stop they are interfering with great writing!
    On the pause side I think January is just a total pause month anyway its just a no motivation month, a lost cause :) Bring on Feb :)

  5. True! And another reason to procrastinate! January is just a write off ! Yay!

  6. LOL! Nice one Leigh. My 'PAUSE' fix is to write at the beach. Unfortunately I only get to do that once a week. And even then - not every week lately =(

    But when my husband is on partol (Baywatch style), I usual take my laptop out and write for an hour after lunch. No internet, no distractions, just inspiration!

    Last summer (Australian Summer) he worked at the beach nearly very day over the school holidays and I managed to take leave from work. I joined him at the beach and wrote. That's how I finished my first novel.

    Sigh - I'm PAUSEd right now. It's nearly 2am and I came on to write, yet here I am. Does this count as S for Social Media?

  7. The internet is a big one for me. I'm usually pretty good about keeping myself off when I have to. My biggest pause is my kids. I can't write when they're both home because there is just too much going on. They're fighting or playing and I just can't concentrate. I do okay when just my little one is home during the day, but then I don't take too much time because I have to play with her too.

    I'm usually pretty good about hitting the grind when I have to. I have a huge fear of failure, being late on a deadline, not looking serious as a writer etc which motivates me to work. There are times I just have to write my way through it, even if I know I will be editing it double what I usually do. The best way for me to get out of it is to do it (which isn't much help, I know).

  8. It sure does Sharon. You have the big S bad! I wrote for 10 days in a lounger by a pool in Spain and mangaged to get half my first book written. It's amazing what you can do with time and peace.

  9. Oh Kelley, your words of wisdom sting the procrastinator in me. LOL. Didn't you know January is a pause month... I'm waiting until February! LOL.

  10. Not sure its wisdom as much as it just shows I'm scared of everything. lol.

  11. Fear is a good motivator, Kelley. I'll take fear over apathy any day!

  12. Oh poor Sharon... Just the ONE trip to the beach every week? You poor pet! (?!?! Once a year sound good to me!)
    Excellent post Leigh- all very true And valid points but don't be too tough on yourself, remember, as Betty said, it's January- THE official pause month!

    Looking forward to your next posting!

  13. I don't have a set time or place to write. It used to be most of my writing (like, 90%) was done at work... but with my new job, I simply don't have time to do it much anymore. :( So writing is going slow.

    For me to get over my PAUSEs, I just... force myself through it. Depression is usually what brings me down, and I find the motivation just isn't there. The document is open but the words aren't coming, and suddenly -- "Oh, Twitter... email... Facebook..." And that's that. I have to close all my windows and just start writing, and I don't stop until I've hit a certain word-goal, or the end of a chapter or whatever.

    (Like Kelley V said, that often results in having to do twice the editing later on, but still!)

  14. Kelley Y,
    I used to have an editor who said, "crap can be fixed". In other words, crappy writing can always be fixed. At least your writing and sometimes, I think thats what it takes...just to write yourself out of it. Even if you know it's going to need some major polishing.


    Another thing I've done is writing something else, and short. Sometimes it takes writing something completely different to get your creative juices flowing again (Gah, did I just say that?).

  15. haha! so true. There is so much that distracts me every day. One of mine at home is my dog. He's restless and needs to go for a walk. Or he's curled up on my bed and maybe I'll just cuddle with him for five minutes...

    You know how it goes

  16. lol Leigh @ "... turns your brain to a big curdled lumpy mess of cottage cheese."

    My button is stuck on pause.
    I keep thinking, when I'm making X amount of money, then I'll get back to writing. But the key is to set aside some time, no matter how busy the day.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  17. I love this post because it's something every writer can relate to. I also love that we all seem like we're in the same boat! Kids, kids, kids--it's why I wish I would've discovered this writing passion pre-babyland. I luckily can write through the chaos. The thing that affects my writing the most (and Leigh, we touched on this) is that there has to be magic in the air--you know, you can just feel it & you have to transfer that magic to the paper? I'm not sure why it's sometimes there and not, but it's essential. During those non-magic times, I try to at least write to keep up the habit, even if it is crap! Lol ...

  18. Woohoo! I'm not alone in the world of 'pause' I draw a sick sort of reassurance from others woes. LOL.
    Thanks for sharing guys.

  19. Haha, this make me laugh! I seem to be on permanent pause most of the time. The worst thing for it is my housemates distracting me. I can barely get my studying done!

    The way to break out of it? Coffee and butt in chair! I wish it was easier to un-pause though! Now...back to writing?

  20. Pauses? Erm...TV shows, movies, my mother! The dogs, Facebook, Twitter - wow the list could really go on. I've found being on IM when writing isn't good for my concentration either. I have this thing where I have to respond if someone has messaged me. I can't just ignore it. So that means pausing from writing to go talk to someone haha.