As you know dear reader, I have recently ended my summer work in the garden and am trying to settle down to some autumn writing activities indoors and in particular, the planning of a new romantic comedy book. I have yet to meet a writer who does not indulge in as many displacement activities as possible in order to avoid facing the blank screen and if such a writer exists - well, I would like to meet him/her.
Taking a break from the creative process is all very well and good, but oh, getting back into the swing of things is very difficult. All the good habits have been broken as I have enjoyed the long dog-days of summer, spending most of my time outside trying to bring order into the chaos that Mother Nature had wrought in our neglected patch of England.
I remember from days of yore being at my desk at an early hour, beavering away like a good little beaver, whilst the day was young and I was fresh - so fresh, sometimes I never got beyond the PJ's until the flrst flush of writerly enthusiasm had waned. Trouble is, that's all a bit of a distant memory. I am all enthusiasm for my new book and once I get going on the planning I am fine - it is the getting going that is the problem.
I know this is not a problem confined to writers. An artist friend of mine compared notes with me the other day and we commiserated with each other on this phenomenon. We love our work, truly we do, so why do we employ such avoidance tactics? I do not know the answer to this one, but like opposing forces, spouse and I are playing cat and mouse at the moment in an effort to keep my seat attached to my chair in the hope that I will make some progress with the new book.
Spouse is of course the cat and a very wily, cunning old cat he is too. Who would have thought it? My gentle, funny spouse out-thinking my low-down cunning escape ideas and heading me off every time. He has kept my nose so firmly to the grindstone this week, that I am ready to scrub the kitchen floor with a toothbrush rather than face the screen again. I need to change my tactics and be a bit more subversive, to keep my head below his extremely acute radar.
A few good walks in the autumn sunshine with our guest-dog, Raffles are needed to refresh the little grey cells. No more public announcements of this activity for me - I'll tiptoe out of the back door, dog lead in hand and close it softly behind me. And then, returning refreshed, I will find my headphones and listen to my favourite music tracks. As long as I'm sitting in front of the screen he'll think I'm multi-tasking! Best of all is the 'I'm thinking about a new scene whilst preparing dinner' ruse. That one often works as food is a topic very dear to spouse's heart. I can't see him classing that one as a displacement activity - at least I hope not.
Harry Houdini was the greatest ever escape artist. I think a little study of his methods might be in order - but there again - I have a book to plan - but on the other hand, the sun is shining and the autumn colours are very beautiful just now and the dog needs a walk ... Out of the corner of my eye I can see spouse hovering in the doorway, checking that my derriere is still attached to the chair. Oh my, dear reader, it's not Harry Houdini I need, I think it's Scottie - beam me up out of here and oh, whilst you're at it, don't forget the dog ...