Monday, January 18, 2010

Procrastination is the Thief of Time

Well the snow has gone, from the towns and villages at least, although there is still enough on the mountains to keep the skiers happy.

I’ve a touch of the January- post- Christmas blues. January has to be the worst month of the year, although when the sun does put in an appearance it’s got quite a lot of power in it. Unfortunately when you live in an old house, the walls are thick, which is fine for keeping the worst of the cold out, but it also means that sometimes it’s warmer in the garden than in the kitchen.

The kitchen is my writing/cooking/web-surfing sanctuary, consequently I spend many daylight hours wandering from computer to cooker, to coffee pot, but last week it was so cold in there (despite the radiator devouring electricity units at an alarming rate) that writing became a real chore. Cold rooms and writing seem to go together; the most successful writers have all shivered in bed sits, writing in a top coat and mittens. JK Rowling apparently wrote a lot of the first Harry Potter book sitting in a coffee shop because it saved on the fuel bills… she must have made a cup of coffee last an awfully long time. The delightful Marion Keynes writes on her laptop, snuggled up under the duvet. I’ve tried that and it’s almost impossible - the laptop keeps sliding all over the bed.

Not only do my fingers freeze up, so does my brain. I can’t concentrate on serious writing. In an effort to make it look as if I was actually working last week, I decided to spend the time by doing some earnest Googling in the name of research. I’d got several writing requests sitting in my inbox which were going to require some dedicated exploration, and web page clicking wasn’t going to be as bone -chilling as having to relentlessly type on a cold keyboard.

As those of you who try to earn a crust by writing will know, anything that distracts us from actually having to sit down and face a blank Word document is a gift from God. Search engines are both a blessing and a curse, and I really ought to have a parental block installed on my laptop to prevent me accessing internet auction sites, and other people’s blogs.

I decided to have a browse around the camera category of Ebay. I have talked myself into the notion that I really need a camera of my very own, rather than having to struggle with the all- singing- all dancing one belonging to Captain Sensible. There are times when even he can’t make it behave, so what chance have I got?

Anyway I had a lovely afternoon surfing comparison sites, reading camera reviews, most of which went right over my head, and the next afternoon deciding which one I was going to bid on, and the next afternoon clicking back and forth to the Ebay site, to make sure I hadn’t been outbid.

So I actually wasted three afternoons, bought myself a camera, and discovered nothing about black truffles which had been the point of all that Googling.

I’m going to google ‘Perigord Truffles’ when I finish this blog. That will be a disaster, because the devilish Google will lead me off down the path of foodie sites, French truffle producers sites, and any blogs that happen to have the words Perigord truffles buried in their pages.

I’m putting some of Captain S’s photos on this page, just to cheer everyone up and prove that his bells- and-whistles camera can be persuaded to take good pictures when it’s in the mood. We had an autumn break in Pau last year. Pau is a lovely city right on the edge of the Pyrenees. It’s only 50 miles from us- we get less adventurous as we get older! Lots of people only know Pau as a destination on the Ryanair website, which is a shame as it’s well worth a visit, with great views, an elegant castle and some smart shops.


Vera said...

I know what you mean about the cold weather not being condusive to writing. I made myself a pair of fingerless mittens to keep my hands warm when typing, and also a huge blanket of a shawl to wrap myself up in. And Google searches I would totally agree with....I sit myself down with the intent to write, and then somehow find myself off into Google-land, either searching or blogging. As you say, search engines are both a blessing and a curse. Couldn't work without them, but can be timewasting when one finds oneself captured by a topic which is totally unrelated to what one was searching for in the first place!

Jo said...

We are not alone,Vera. A very well known chic lit writer (can't remember her name) was talking about her writing day and she falls into exactly the same trap .....though her nemesis is buying shoes online.
Nice to know even the most dedicated and successful can be side- lined !

lydiamartindale said...

Hello Jo
I too can relate to your comment about writing in the cold! I have a hot waterbottle stuffed up my jumper and a dressing gown over the top! Before Christmas someone gave me laptop which was wonderful - for 5 weeks until it packed in - because it meant that I could write in bed!