Wednesday, August 25, 2004

     Got asked once in one of my poetry classes what motivated me to write as much as I do. I babbled on about creativity and nurturing the muse, but didn't mention the truth: I write to avoid housework.
     I like a clean house as much as the next person does, but I don't like to dust, vacuum, mop floors, clean toilets, etc. I want a maid. I like things neat, but don't like putting out the effort to neaten them.
     How does that relate to writing? I set aside a certain amount of time to write per day. Sometimes the words won't come. Or the plot needs more work. Or a character isn't speaking to me the way she or he should. I can write my way through these difficulties occasionally or write around them. Other times, I'm stopped. Rather than sit there sighing as I look at the blank computer screen, I get up and do something productive. I file, I wash dishes, I dust, I vacuum, I do any task that I've put off. After 30 minutes or an hour, I find my subconscious gladly gets back to work and the words flow.
     Depending the difficulty of the project and how my subconscious is cooperating, my house is either spotless or a step from being raided by the Health Department. Okay, I may be stretching it a bit, but not much.
     I'm currently trying to finish a book before an agent asks to read the whole thing (if he does). A particularly thorny passage has slowed progress to a crawl. How slow you ask?
     Last night, I did two sinks of dishes, washed and folded four loads of towels and clothes, dusted -- with Pledge no less -- my living room furniture, filed for a straight hour, straightened and rearranged the paper shelves, semi-thoroughly cleaned my fish tank, took apart the tank filter pump and cleaned it, put the newspapers in the recycling box and a few other small things. I got my words finally, but no breakthrough.
     So tonight, I'll be trying to write again and probably cleaning again. I guess it will be vacuuming tonight. Sigh. Oh my muse, you're a lazy wench.


Anonymous said...

The next time you have writer's block, come on over! I have plenty of housework that needs doing! :)

Joel said...

Re: writing and housework.
LOL. You should find a roommate and writer who has similar reasons but whose cycle is opposite. That way your place will always be spotless.

On a more serious note, you should consider polishing up this post and submitting as an article to a mag. AFTER you've completed the manuscript from the agent, of course (who ASKED for it. You know how rare that is???)

Gloria Williams said...

A man that does housework?!!! Wonders never cease! :)

Erudite Redneck said...

I write for the same reason I used to cut up in class: to get noticed! That's the absolute truth. Which is why I don't understand diaries and personal journals, which will be a topic for the Erudite Redneck soon. :-)