Monday, June 30, 2008

Why I Write: To stratch the itch

It's an itch.

The nagging feeling that I should be writing, that I need to write now, and I'm wasting the precious minutes of my life doing whatever it is I'm doing now, and everything will be better with the world if I can just get to that page. If I can stratch the itch.

I've learnt over the last few years that I need to keep my life in balance. There are a number of dimensions in my life that need to all be taken care of if I'm to remain happy.

Writing is definitely one of those dimensions - much as I try to deny myself it should be. After all, what's writing? My self-indulgent inner workings which may never see the light of day... Why should I need to write?

Except I've caught myself time and time again feeling down, wondering what is bothering me, and realising that I haven't been writing for the last week. The itch is the symptom of that need to write, and it's good to listen to it before my mood starts getting worse.

Luckily for me, stratching the itch doesn't take too long. Ten minutes working on a story idea is usually enough to lose the itch and feel all is right in the world (I have a very low work threshold combined with an impressive ability to deceive myself that if I've started on an idea, I'm almost there...)

So maybe I'm an addict and writing is my fix. Or maybe I'm healthy and the itch is a reminder that I could get sick. I like to think the latter, but then again, it's cool to be an addict. Who wants to be healthy all the time?


Benedict Reid said...

10 minutes! I know every little bit counts... but I hope you doing more than 520 minutes (or 8 hours 40 minutes) writing work a year.
Mind you... thinking about it. If you are thinking about your script in the back of your mind for a week, and you focused those ten minutes on writing pages... rather than planning. It would be totally possible to get two pages written in ten minutes (I'm thinking of myself here when I'm on fire with a script and I know exactly what I'm going to write next). So continuing with this calculation. You'd get 1st draft done in under a year, and have time for polishing before the year is out.
Maybe you've hit upon the perfect way to write when you've got a full time job.

Sean said...

Thanks Ben.

And yes, sometimes ten minutes is all I do squeeze into a day (or nothing at all depending) - but where possible it's more like an hour or so.

And as you say you can get a lot done in ten minutes if they're focused...

Matthew Mawkes said...

I relate to this post, Sean. I often feel useless if a day passes and I haven't written anything. It doesn't seem logical at all - just an 'itch'. And yes, 10 minutes may be insufficient, but it helps! Nice blog btw.

Sean said...

Thanks Matt - great to hear your experience. Nice to know I'm not alone!