Thursday, May 9, 2019

Lashed to the Mast

Writers sit and write – for a long time. What do you do to stop yourself becoming welded to your writing seat?

From Jim

I become antsy when I’m writing. At least until I settle into a groove and my mind gets onboard for the work. Then I write in bursts of an hour or so. I make bargains with myself. Write a thousand words and you can take a coffee break. Or check your e-mail. Or go on a FaceBook jag. On good days I’ll have three or four of those bursts and achieve a good word count. But other days, it’s a battle against distractions. So for me the problem often is just the opposite of today’s topic. I need to sit longer. I’ve been know to advocate strapping yourself to your chair with your belt to resist distractions. It works for minor temptations and sirens, too. 

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My antsiness is a form of procrastination. Sometimes I convince myself that there’s a better place than my desk to write. 

A coffee shop, a library, or even my car, parked at the lake. I wrote a couple of books in Seattle at the local coffee shop. With apologies to Tom Waits, the baristas all know my name.

For the past several years, I’ve done all my writing on an iPad. Five books and counting. The iPad is small and light, with a Bluetooth keyboard, which also protects in the event of a drop. I take it everywhere I go and, in fact, have even lost it twice at conferences. Got it back both times. Folks are honest and helpful at crime conferences. They’re obviously not paying attention to the panels. The portability means I can write anywhere, which liberates me from the drudgery of working in the same spot everyday. It also exacerbates my antsiness and tendency to procrastinate. 


Dietrich Kalteis said...

I often feel like that, Jim – more like chaining myself to the chair, than feeling like I'm welded to it. And the iPad sounds like a good idea too.

James W. Ziskin said...

Thanks, Dietrich. It works for me.

Susan C Shea said...

I tried writing on my iPad but the small keyboard and screen frustrate me. Maybe I need to stick with it longer. I'm impressed that you work it so well.

James W. Ziskin said...

Susan, there is the larger one, too. 12.9”.