With all due respect to the world’s leading procrastinators, I happen to be better than the lot of you. I won’t bore you with the details. Let’s just say this fact is indisputable — that I am the world’s greatest procrastinator — and there’s an end to it.
And in the year or so that I’ve been struggling with writing my novel I’ve learned to recognize the great time-wasters that capture my interest so readily. I can tell when when they walk into the room. I can smell them coming down the hall.
So when the idea for this blog “popped into my head,” I detected the subtle metallic odour of the time-waster almost immediately. I was at a holiday party talking to my friend Josh Bluman, who is a bit of a blog evangelist, a marketing student, and a follower of the social media phenomenon. “Everyone should have a blog,” he said. “I know that you’re a writer and you’re working on a novel, and you should be blogging about that.” He went on for quite awhile, using terms like “building tribes,” and dropping names like Seth Godin. It was all quite seductive and exciting and I thought about how the publishing industry is changing like the music industry, and how we writers must seek new ways of doing things. Building my own version of a tribe through the blogosphere and Twitter seemed to make perfect sense. The smell in the room was stifling, but I was already seduced.
Is this another trap? It’s been almost a year since I embarked on my novel and I haven’t got a whole lot to show for it except a shelf of “research books”, an interesting plot-line and a few pages of disconnected writing. In between brief flurries of productivity, I’ve been distracted by work, holidays, bicycle riding, books, movies, music, cooking, Facebook, Twitter … and now, apparently, blogs. I feel guilty, knowing the monks are waiting patiently for me to get my act together, worried that they might one day just up and wander down the road to the next abbey.
Jennifer, my wife and a brilliant writer herself, recently read a book called The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield. He refers to the time-wasters as resistance. “Resistance,” he writes, “is the most toxic force on the planet.
It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease and erectile dysfunction. To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be. If you believe in God (and I do), you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius.
Powerful words, indeed, and I could see the monks nodding sanctimoniously as I read them.
But I prithee, brothers, to hear me in this. This blog can also serve the purpose of bringing inspiration and cultivating the world of this novel. It will be a journey for myself and you, dear reader, into the darkness and light of the medieval monastery, the conflicts and adventures of the monks, the turbulent times of late 14th century England. It is a commitment — as long as is practicable – to the act of writing, and to the building of an audience for my novel. It is a dedication to the real work ahead of me, and I will not allow it to consume too much time from my full measure of devotion. I swear it.
Thus endeth the sermon, brothers. I can see that you are not entirely convinced.