Friday, 11 September 2015



When I eventually sit down to work, by that I mean writing, I do indeed have certain well worn rituals.
It's getting there that creates problems. Like getting here created problems. Getting to write this Blog. My technical neanderthalness results in frustrating meanderings, often into dead ends. It also results in me inventing words that are ungrammatical and don't exist. Like "neanderthalness".
I wrote my first play on an Olivetti typewriter. I guess that says it all.
There was brief moment in my life when I did have a writing ritual in that I wrote at the same time every day. I was on Long Service Leave, therefore receiving a salary, and started writing at 930am and finished at 330pm. Every day. It was bliss.
Now I'm back to juggling writing hours with kids commitments, teaching, auditions, acting jobs, moving (again) and all the other things that seem to consume my life.
There is no ritual in terms of when I write. I grab time whenever I can.
However, when I finally do grab precious time I do have writing rituals.
I begin by plugging in my headphones and choosing the music that I feel best suits my mood or what I'm writing. For instance I'm currently writing a female character so I listen to everyone from Missy Higgins to Joni Mitchell. I listen to lyricists in the vain hope that some of their genius will find its way into the work I am writing. It's not plagiarism, as such, it's more cosmic than that. It's, like, my version of the absorption method. I hope I will absorb some of Leonard Cohen's genius and produce my own.
Having chosen appropriate inspirational music, I begin work with a cup of coffee as a security blanket.
When the coffee is drunk I transfer to chewing gum. I'm told I look like a jersey cow when I'm in the zone. Or at least I chomp away like one. I might also start bouncing on the exercise ball (is that what its called?) I sit on. I bounce when the music gets me bouncing. Usually rock and roll. Don't ask. You'll think I'm a troglodyte as well as being hamstrung by neanderthalness.
So there I go. Chomping, bouncing, typing.
I avoid emails and social media like the plague. I disappear into the world of whatever I am writing and emerge when its time for one of the kids soccer training or for me to cook dinner. Or whatever it is.
I do like the early morning. 5am. That's when I produce my best work. The trouble is that I can only squeeze a few hours in with early morning work commitments and family duties and getting up at 5 requires more discipline than I am currently capable of exhibiting.
I am hopeless at night. I so admire those people who sit down after dinner and write for a few hours. I'm too buggered by then to do anything but drink beer and read. Not a lot of beer. One or two.
Mmm…maybe that's part of the problem. Maybe. It's a ritual I enjoy though.
Actually, now I write this it's a  wonder I ever get any writing done.
When I do I fall into a pretty basic ritual but it works for me.
If only I could practice it more often.

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