Thursday, 9 July 2009
Looking back and looking forwards - John Dougherty
Looking back: longtime readers of An Awfully Big Blog Adventure may recall that in the last post of 2008 I got all excited about my new shed; but I did admit to worrying that perhaps all it would do would be to rob me of excuses for being so thoroughly unproductive and inefficient. "I'll let you know how it works out," I said.
Well, we're more than 6 months in now, and so far my investment is, thankfully, looking pretty sound. Yes, it has pointed up a bit of a tendency to procrastinate - it's often as much as a couple of hours between getting the kids off to school and actually sitting down in the shed to write - but once I get down there it's like entering a different reality.
Really, that's only slightly hyperbolic. Let me give you this illustration: on Monday, I spent most of the working day trying to sort out a problem with my internet banking (which, by the way, is still not resolved, and if anyone from the Newcastle Building Society is reading this, I'd be grateful if you could get someone from the Knows What They're Talking About Department to make the phone call I was told would be coming on Tuesday. Thanks). At about 3:00pm I decided I ought to at least pretend to do some work, though I was pretty certain I was too wound up to get anything useful done. So I stomped bad-temperedly down to the shed, opened the door (huffing and tutting), stepped inside...
...and something changed. My shoulders unknotted - not completely, but noticeably - and some of the tension, at least, just lifted. My mind let go of the problem with the building society, and took hold of the story I'd come down to pretend to focus on.
I was At Work.
I could say an awful lot about the benefits of the shed - the Wordshed, as a friend of mine has named it - but I think this encapsulates what makes it special, what makes it My Writing Place, and why I was right to spend all that money on it. When I enter it, my mind knows why I've come, and just slips into that mystical Zone that writers sometimes talk about. All the stuff that gets in the way when I try to write in the house, all those other jobs I should be doing, just don't exist while I'm in the shed. When I'm there, I am A Writer, and Writing Is What I Do. And consequently, I do more writing.
Looking forwards: Hard to believe, I know, but An Awfully Big Blog Adventure will be one year old tomorrow! Hoorah! And we're having a party - a virtual party to which you're all invited. There'll be virtual cake and balloons, posts by some very special guests, and updates throughout the day - including some posts for which the comments will be the important part. So please drop by from time to time during the day, and remember: if you need a displacement activity on July 10th, An Awfully Big Blog Adventure is the place to come.
And finally, a plug: we're often quite reticent about plugging our new books here on ABBA, and perhaps we shouldn't be. So just in case anyone is interested, my latest, Jack Slater and the Whisper of Doom, was published last Thursday. Do keep a look out for it - and if you'd like the chance of a signed copy, it'll be one of (at last count) 35 titles being offered as prizes in the great Awfully Big Blog Adventure Birthday Giveaway.
See you tomorrow!