Why don’t you start a blog, they said. That’ll be fun, they said. That’ll keep you busy through the long summer holiday, they said.
Like a hyperactive child, people are always looking for ways to ‘keep me busy’, whether it’s going on Big Brother (turned down for being ‘too normal’, sadly) or that ill-fated barefoot pilgrimage to Camino de Santiago on the back of a Newfoundland called Colin.*
Well I can’t say I haven’t enjoyed it, so far. I love it. I love the writing, I love thinking of what to write. And I like choosing the pictures. I like that bit very much indeed because that means I have FINISHED the blog for the day and I can go and see if I can find where my children have got to.
The bit I like less, in fact the bit I don’t really like at ALL if I’m honest, is the bit where I sit in front of the empty screen with my fingers poised over the keyboard and…… nothing. No jokes, no amusing anecdotes, no pinko politics. Nothing to contemplate but the echoing emptiness inside my head. Again.
Part of the problem is my tendency to take everything just that LEETLE bit too far. E.g. ‘Hey why don’t I write 800 words EVERY DAY for the WHOLE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS – yeah that’s a great idea. I like a challenge.’ But then a new day dawns and I wake up in a little panic. Oh no! I have to try and be mildly amusing today! And I look deep inside myself and – no – only dullness.
So I force myself to sit at my computer, scrabbling around looking at the news headlines thinking, oh I wonder if I can manage 800 words of mildly amusing nonsense about, erm, assisted suicide? Er, the stock market crash? ERRRRRRRR, I DON’T KNOW I DON’T KNOW (looking frantically around the kitchen) about CHIPS? BARBECUES? LEMONS?
And then the procrastination starts.
Now I am not a world-class procrastinator. I can’t claim to have mastered the skill of procrastination like the GorgeousTeen, for example, who can often end up at the end of a long day of coursework writing with approximately 50% of the word count she started with. On one occasion I accused her of procrastination and she then spent the next half an hour googling the word ‘procrastination’ and reading out the definitions. I think we can all agree it would be hard to match that level of work-avoidance.
But the internet seems specifically designed for the purposes for avoiding doing anything productive. You may even be doing it right now. Oh look, a personality quiz to work out if I am afraid of real life and addicted to the internet! Oh… well everyone knows these things are rubbish, yeah? Er, what about the quiz of the week? Oh…. 2 out of 10. Alright, let’s have a look at those HILARIOUS LOL cats. He he he a cat in a waste paper bin! Oh actually I might just start typing up that report after all.
And once you have a blog, the opportunities for procrastination are almost endless. Fannying around looking at things on the internet becomes RESEARCH, you see? I am just TESTING OUT SOME IDEAS, yeah? And I just need to read this other person’s blog, in case they are funnier than me.
And also, once you have your own site, you get sent some statistics to see how many people come on your site … and when … and although I try hard not to keep looking at this, it’s just too tempting. It goes UP! Hurray! It goes down! Boo! Why?? Does NO-ONE want to read about the dog poo fairy???
But then there are the good bits, like when people quote sections from the blog at me. (This is a very VERY good bit. These people are very fine people, and I will be inviting these people to a big party when I am rich and famous. Don’t think I am not keeping a list. I love you all.) And when people ask me about people I have mentioned on the blog, like they are real people or something, and not just my imaginary friends. Then I know I am giving a convincing impression of being a real person with an interesting life.
Then there are the bad bits. For example, when someone remarks, airily, ‘Oh yes, I heard you had a blog. I am of course TOO BUSY to read it.’ (Yes, you are on a list too, people too-busy-to-read-my-blog. And don’t think I don’t know you’ll be reading this. No-one’s THAT busy. Stop looking at textsfromlastnight.com for a bit. It’ll only take you an average of 5.16 minutes, according to my latest statistics.)
Or, best of all, ‘Yes, my grandmother reads it. Well, she is housebound these days. She thinks it’s very funny.’
If anyone could come up with a suitable riposte for that last one, I’d be grateful. Because I have only come up with ‘yeah well so is YOUR FACE!’
Which might not work that well for my reputation as a wordsmith.
* I still maintain that this is an excellent idea for a tv series. As a concept, its time will come, you mark my words.