Cork in the Whine

by Randy Richardson

I used to think that the biggest challenge in writing a novel was fighting my inner-procrastinator.

It always seemed like there was something else I could be doing instead of writing.

Excuse me now while I rearrange my sock drawer.

Gosh I can’t believe that I was able to function with my black socks so clearly out of place in the top drawer right next to my brown socks. How stupid could I have been? Everyone knows that you don’t put black socks next to brown socks. Otherwise on those mornings when you’re rushed or barely awake, you’re going to accidentally pull out the wrong pair of socks and discover later in the day that you’re wearing black pants and black shoes with brown socks. No longer do I have to worry about making that mistake. Not with the khaki socks now situated so that they clearly separate the black and brown ones.

Now where was I?

You can see how it is easy to be distracted by other things when you should be writing. There are so many things that you could be doing –

Shoot, I’ve made a terrible error in judgment. I’ve got the socks in the top drawer and the briefs just below them. That just doesn’t make logical sense. I don’t know about you, but for me, the briefs always go on first. The socks always come second. Obviously that means that I’ve got the brief and sock drawers in the wrong order. The top drawer should be for briefs, the second drawer should be for socks. Duh! Pardon me, again. I’ll be back in a sec.

Focus. It’s so easy to lose that when you’re writing. But, as you can surely see, it’s not a problem for me. When I’m writing, nothing can distract me.

Except time. Jeez, look at those seconds ticking away. Why is it that there’s never enough time?

I’m doing it all by the book. Really I am. I’ve got my idea for a novel. I think it’s a good one. I’ve got my goals for writing it. I’m even sitting down staring at an open Word document labeled “MANUSCRIPT”.

So why isn’t it getting done faster? Since it’s so obviously not my fault, I am left to blame time. It just seems like there used to be so much more of it. But now I’ve got job duties overlapping with household duties overlapping with parental duties. Really it’s pretty amazing that I’m able to write anything at all. Sure I’d set a goal for myself that I’d have 25,000 words written by now. But given the amount of time that I have, I’d say I’ve done pretty well to have written 5,000.

I did used to think that procrastination was the biggest demon I had to slay as a writer. That evolved into a new foe: the clock. And that has evolved into my newest and scariest challenge: whining.

Oh, no, say it ain't so, I've become a whine-o.

A writer’s favorite pastime is whining. And I’m as guilty of it as any other writer out there. The reason I suppose is that it’s so easy to make excuses for not writing. There are always things that you could be doing instead of writing. And it’s easy to put the blame for not writing elsewhere.

Writing is by no means easy. But that doesn’t mean you have to whine about it. Nobody likes a whiner. And no good story is ever going to be written if you spend all your time whining instead of writing. So here’s my simple solution: I’m putting a cork in the whine.

At least until I type “THE END” on that manuscript and can start whining about agents and publishers and rejection letters.