Somewhere in the past two weeks I have slowed right down. Been procrastinating way too much. Definitely no longer over-achieving in isolation. The highlight of the past few weeks is being matched with a Mentor and Mentee through the Women in Film and Television Mentor Programme. My mentor is helping me with confidence and pitching skills as well as introducing me to possible other mentors. My mentee is kind of where I was at her age and I hope to give her the confidence and contacts to keep going, to not give up.
As for writing, remember the feature film I was writing based on my play? Well I turned that into a TV pitch and it’s gone out to a contact. Felt like a better fit for the project. But apart from that no real new writing. Am I blocked? I have been blocked before. I have lots of ideas but can’t seem to make headway. And this is the time when I should be prolific right/ Like Shakespeare with King Lear. Each day I sit at my computer and I get lost in a spiral of Covid news and Facebook posts. I prod and poke at a few projects. Reread them and try not to mess them up again. This is followed by more procrastination.
Perhaps procrastination is necessary for some writers. Based on the her research into the neuroscience of creativity in her book The Mystery of the Cleaning Lady, Sue Woolfe has coined the term, “The Lull” where she encourages writers to allow their mind time to defocus before beginning the writing in order to reach the state where the brain is in lowest activity. Not all of us are like Steven King with his famous quote, “The scholar’s greatest weakness: calling procrastination research.” For me doing repetitive tasks is when great ideas strike. Sitting down at my desk and staring the screen or page is not great. Hanging washing and driving the car are both great for writer’s block but not very convenient for actual writing. Need to find a repetitive task at the desk that doesn’t involve facebook.
Perhaps I should take a page out of Colette’s book. Colette is one of my favourite writers. I found her Claudine novels in a bookshop in Adelaide when I was fifteen and found her irreverent humour and rebellious characters addictive. Apparently, Colette used to deflea her dog – The French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette used her French bulldog, Souci, to procrastinate writing. She would pluck fleas from Souci’s back and hunt for them in her fur until the grooming ritual prepared her to move on to other procrastination techniques like cuddling with Souci and swatting flies. Only then would Colette begin to work. https://www.rd.com/funny-stuff/famous-writers-masters-procrastinating/
Using the theory of neuroscience and the need to allow for low activity in the brain, perhaps Colette was using her dog to procrastinate her way to the “lull”. I shall try this tomorrow on my cat and dog and see if I have any such luck. Although they don’t have any fleas. Hmmm. Perhaps I can pretend.