According to statistics I'm just about to make up, struggling writers spend up to three hours a day, for fifteen years either writing stuff that nobody else will ever read, or procrasturbating - that is employing some delaying tactic, most usually wanking, or recovering from wanking, in order to postpone the activity of writing.
That's urm, 3 times seven times 52 times fifteen hours of your life. Or
16380 hours. Or 682 days. Or two years, roughly.
That's sixteen thousand three hundred and eighty hours spent on a futile exercise that only makes you feel as worthless as ...insert your own analogy here. In fact, let's have an analogy competition. Write how writing aspirationally makes you feel - but nothing inflammatory - creationists are people, too. As is Bono, I think.
So, I've started to think what else I could be doing with that time.
For starters, I don't want to procrasturbate any more. I don't want to feel guilty, thinking I should be doing something else. I want to bring out the scented candles, and the oils, put on the Barry White and Motorhead mix tape and treat myself to a posh wank. I want to allocate valid time for it, not pump furiously away, with my top lip hugging my nostrils, scorning myself for not developing my protagonist.
Whilst I'm at it I'm going to learn a new language. I've got two ideas for this. I don't want to learn French or Spanish. I realise that this would probably open up half the world to me, as would Chinese, but fuck that, I want to be individual. They, like my future wife, can come later. Not that she would come later when we were making love (although she probably would. In trying to ensure synchronicity I would get too excited and exclaim my liquid apology. That's what happens when I watch clips, anyway. Don't worry though, I would rub her off afterwards).
I'm going to learn either sign language or Estonian.Why Estonian? Because no-one speaks Estonian, that's why. I'm going to dedicate one year of my life to learning it, then I'm going to book a holiday in Tallinn, act like a stupid English tourist then, BAAAAM! I'm going to pull it out the bag and blow them out the water. By the time my holiday ends I will probably be working in the embassy and married to seven beautiful women. Do they have polygamy in Estonia?
Then I'm moving on to sign language. Imagine yourself in a cafe, surrounded by deaf people, wondering what they're saying. Then you realise, holy shit, I do know what they're saying! You can turn round with a funny and that's it, you're friends for life! Plus, my neighbour is deaf, and he's also a cunt, and I really want to tell him to fuck off.
I'm also going to learn a cool trick to do in the pub, like that card thing Bill Murray does in Groundhog Day. I'm going to allocate one hour every day to learning a skillful thing to do with bottles, glasses and beer mats. And I'm going to learn jazz guitar, and foraging, so that when Armageddon kicks off I can go into the woods with my Rambo knife and find sustenance for my Estonian family.
Aside from this I'm going to chill out. I'm going to relax about the fact that I'm just a random organic organism who happens to be cognizant at this moment in history. Objectively my existence has practically no value. I am not a butterfly and I have no wings to flap and cause an earthquake in Peking. But I still have relationships with people, and I'm going to treat these with the obsession that has previously been paid to trying to get out of writing. I'll almost certainly get it wrong at first and be one of those fake smiling nobheads, but with enough counselling I could be a good friend to someone.
But if you just can't shake off the writing bug then I would say stop reading tips, stop being neurotic, stop seeing it as the be all and end all, stop running from one idea to another second guessing what the industry wants, stop thinking about all the money you're going to make and how it's going to change everything and make it all OK, stop thinking about the actress you're going to marry.
Stop writing. For three months.Just write down thoughts you have about the world, about your life and the way you see it.Think about what makes you passionate.
Then write about it.
Writing is art and it's about converting how you see the world into something meaningful to others. Don't cheapen it by turning it into anything else.