Overcoming Writers Block, or Rule #1 – Get Out From Behind the Desk

Rule #1 - Make time to get out from behind the desk

So.   I’ve made a commitment to myself:  I’ll write something every day, no matter what.  I came kicking and screaming to this commitment, because I’ve gotten out of the habit of making commitments to myself.  I think that’s probably why I’ve lost the plot.

It seems to be taking a long time to learn how to set up the blog, to make it work (the way I want).  Along the way, I seem to have become obsessed with the minutia – the how-tos – and I’m spending way too much time at the desk.  To begin, I had to choose a theme.  Usually clear-sighted, and decisive, I took forays into four themes, experimenting with my “look”,  before I commanded basta – enough!  Then, to get the hang of it, I used photographs I like as inspiration, facts and figures I’d gathered as a way to tell it like it is.  And I made a few posts, and got some likes, and things seemed to be on track …  until one day, my computer said “hey, I need newer software to do that internet stuff.”, and Safari promptly crashed.

Now, I didn’t grow up with computers.  Heck, I remember the first fax machine I ever saw.  It was in London, in the winter of ’72-’73, the winter of the miners’ strike, and the “Arab Oil Embargo“, the winter of rolling power outages across the country.  My first, only, winter in London, when I felt sure we’d run out of Oxygen: everything grey, and damp, nothing alive except the glow of tail lights on the perpetually slick black streets.  Every second day, we’d be using hurricane lamps to work by – can you imagine (remember?), in the City of London?  Every other day, no electricity:  no electric cash registers, no electric typewriters, no photocopying machines.  It was quite pretty:  this etherial, otherworldly, light emanating from buildings along Park Lane, Oxford Street, everywhere – even Harrods’ huge generators weren’t up to lighting their usual high voltage window displays.  Anyway, the Facsimile Machine.  It was housed, under lock and key, up in the holy of holies:  the Boardroom.  One made an appointment with the Chairman’s Secretary, and, at the appointed hour, she escorted you into the dark, cavernous room, unlocked the box to expose a red telephone, attached to a printer-type device.  One watched as one’s Priority-approved pages were fed, one by one,  through the platens, anxiously awaited the news that the transmission had been successful.  All very James Bond.

But I digress.  As I said, “… Safari promptly crashed.”.   I’ve a new operating system now, and a mountain of updated software –  more to learn, anomalies to troubleshoot.  From  hand movements on my track pad – how do I stop the whole screen from flying upward, when I only want this section to fly up to the Kitchen Sink bar to underscore that word? – to how to make a Link link, and, even more pressingly, how to insert the “Bog a Day Club” widget, so that I’m fully “out” (because commitments are harder to keep when they’re secrets).

Then there’s netiquette.  It’s a little like 18th and 19th century society.  One is new in town and the only way to become part of society, is to announce one’s arrival – by presenting one’s (well it would have been one’s husband’s, or one’s  father’s) card at the homes of people from one’s own milieu.  Then, as on the net today, one didn’t need to know the person to whom one was presenting oneself:  it was an accepted – nea expected – practice.  It was the only way to be invited to join society (outside the extended family circle).  How do I find people of my milieu within our site?  A little more exploration is called for, a little more time at the desk.  Conversely, if someone likes me, I should at least pay them the courtesy of visiting their blog to see what they’re doing, have a look at some of their work?  It’s only polite.  A person who has taken the trouble to comment deserves a prompt reply, and  as I gather  likes, and  followers, and commit to follow others, the time I spend at the desk grows even longer.  Last night there were 68 emails from one new ‘friend’ I’d made just before dinner.  No matter how much I like Turkey, I ‘ll have to be impolite and change the frequency of communications.  Now it’s interfering with my sleep.

Luckily, my “friend” Nezza at (lets see if this works)  Hella Sydney warned me about all this, and so I’m about to devise a rule for myself – do my work first, then pay my respects to the community.  Otherwise, I’ll end up as I did today:  paralysed by writers block and devoid of anything to say.   I think I’ll find that by getting out from behind the desk I’ll have lots to write about.  After all, I live in Sri Lanka.  How cool is that?.

5 thoughts on “Overcoming Writers Block, or Rule #1 – Get Out From Behind the Desk

  1. Good luck with your blog – enjoyed this post. I can relate! Every time I sit down to write I get sidetracked with email or Facebook. Or I’ll suddenly decide I need to do laundry… but really, I don’t! Thanks for dropping by my blog today.

  2. I still feel new to blogging, although I started in December. But I’m getting the hang of it–I don’t have to run to my teenaged daughter for tech help each time I post. I enjoyed this introduction quite as much as a calling card delivered on a silver tray! I’m looking forward to more of your posts.

  3. “Then there’s netiquette. It’s a little like 18th and 19th century society. One is new in town and the only way to become part of society, is to announce one’s arrival – by presenting one’s (well it would have been one’s husband’s, or one’s father’s) card at the homes of people from one’s own milieu.”

    Very well written piece. I particularly enjoyed this snid-bit above. In truth, it reminded me a bit of the exceptionally gifted writer who has forever ruined reading for me; Diana Gabaldon. Have you read her before?

    • Firstly, thank you for dropping by, and the very fine compliment. I appreciate it. Sad to say I’ve not even heard of your Diana Gabaldon. Here in Sri Lanka our choice of books to buy is quite limited and so I’ve been reading mostly the new generation of Indian writers, for whom I’ve developed a great passion.

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