The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

On Motivation

On Diversion

by Steve Gajadhar

Steps before writing:

1. Read something. Preferably related to what I’ll be writing about.

2. Check my email.

3. Do my fantasy sports teams.

4. Rhapsody music service.

5. Open MS Word and select a cool looking font that I haven’t tried before. Right now my favorite is trebuchet, and yes that’s the same as those medieval siege machines.

Step 1. Read Something

Today I scanned through The Complete Essays of Michel de Montaigne. 1,269 pages of wondrous distraction, including Montaigne’s version of On Diversion.

Step 2. Email

In less than 15 years electronic mail has become the cornerstone of human interaction. I’ve moved past the joke, nudie pic, stupid movie phase of the emailer’s adolescence and into impatient middle age, so email doesn’t take me too long, but I still check.

Step 3. Fantasy Sports

It’s baseball season, my favourite time of year. Probable pitchers for tomorrow that I have on my rosters include Tom Glavine, Tim Hudson, and Jake Peavy. Setting up my fantasy baseball teams usually balloons into general sports related surfing. Check out if you want to waste some time.

Step 4. Rhapsody

Music services kick ass. My use of Rhapsody tends to take one of the following three forms:

a. Set up an elaborate, esoteric playlist, production of which will take at least 15 minutes
b. Scan the new releases and staff picks sections
c. Pick one of my preset radio stations

Step 5. Font

I need things to look nice when I’m writing. Interpret this as you like.

All told it’s at least 30 minutes before I begin to write.

I originally sat down to write a piece on motivation. Where we find it, how it works, why we even write in the first place. But this came out instead. I try not to supress anything, so I guess what this piece is saying is that somewhere deep in my subconscious, my mind is always diverting itself. I think this is true of all of us.

The world is full of diversions and busy inventing more. This is part of what makes writing so hard. As writers we must turn inward, away from diversion and into our thoughts and feelings, and it’s scary in there. The voice inside your head lets you have it:

“Are you any good?”

“He/she’s way better than you. See how you just had to add in the /she? That means you’re sexist, that your point of view is biased toward male, that you’ll never be able to write a convincing female character.”

"You used to write better before. You’ve lost uniqueness and creativity now that your head’s full of all those how to write books.”

See how easy it is? I’ve now diverted myself from anything resembling a coherent blog entry.


Blogger craig said...

I wanted to write a comment on this post but I had several other tabs open, so I check the Yahoo headlines, checked Websters word of the day, and of course Zoetrope. Then I remembered I should say something, except MSN was on and a friend "booped in" to tell me about a cool site he had found at the same time Yahoo messenger said a writing buddy just signed in.

So, while I'm thinking of it, let me tell you how great this post is and how I - wait, I have to flip my itunes playlist selection - can so relate to it.

Wed May 17, 10:22:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

See, I knew I wasn't alone.

Wed May 17, 01:03:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Oh, man. What were we talking about?

Thu May 18, 10:01:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

this is sooo true, I put off writing for anything, I even have to be wearing the righ clothes, have the laundry folded and the floors washed and on and on and on and then, I can finally write, oh, but not before I check out zoetrope, return emails, and gee, look at the time, only have, well, no time left to write....Thanks Steve, this is sooo true. P xo

Thu May 18, 04:10:00 pm GMT-4  

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