Horses, Camels and Collaborative Poems

dictionary write entry sSo I have been down with a serious dose of procrastination lately. Messy, painful and rather time-consuming. And not very productive, of course.

Except that while I was thinking about writing (rather than doing it), I found the word ‘writhe’ nestled between ‘writer’ and ‘writing’ in my Oxford Dictionary. Which seems appropriate somehow.

Whenever I get a couple of hours free to spend writing, before I can start I’ll often find something else to do that cannot wait. I’ll clean the bathroom, change the sheets, even mop the kitchen floor to avoid getting down to the nitty gritty of writing. Then I’ll make a fresh cup of tea or two, because this writing lark is thirsty business. I’ll check my emails (again), scan Twitter and Facebook, message a few friends, putting off the actual business of writing for as long as I can.

And yet writing is something I love, it’s what I take pleasure in. So what is it that holds me back? Why am I so slow to get going sometimes?

It doesn’t make sense.

When I do find myself with bum-on-seat and pen-in-hand, I’ll often waste more time flicking through Roget’s Thesaurus and my various dictionaries (one is never enough, I have lots) looking for inspiration. It is not that I’m particularly stuck for ideas, it is just that I can’t seem to get anything out of my head in a way that makes sense. On those occasions, I’ll take a stern look at the dictionaries and know that all the words I’ll ever need are in there, I just have to extract them and put them in the right order. Simples!

Meanwhile, I’m full of admiration for people who write in their lunch break, or while the baby sleeps, or during snatched moments when they’re also doing something else, like commuting to work, cooking the dinner, or waiting for their children to finish football practice. They make good use of their writing time because it is so precious and in short supply. I have no excuses.

cat clock sI know time for writing poetry could be any time, so it’s nice to see Poetry Day Ireland on April 30th has ‘There Will Be Time’ as the theme.

That day, I’ll be helping my writing group members to share their own poems and other people’s, and I’ll be encouraging everyone to help write a collaborative poem or two, one line at a time.

I’ll be banging on about our poetry-themed coffee morning nearer the date, but before then, I’m going to be on the look-out for opening lines for our new compositions. Everyone knows a horse designed by a committee ended up as a camel, but what is a multi-authored poem going to look like?

No idea, but the process could be a bit of fun. It will involve some dedicated writing time, of course. And there’ll be plenty of tea and coffee to drink, so I’ll be sorted.