Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On avoiding writing...


"Usually, writers will do anything to avoid writing. For instance, the previous sentence was written at one o'clock this afternoon. It is now a quarter to four. I have spent the past two hours and forty-five minutes sorting my neckties by width, looking up the word 'paisley' in three dictionaries, attempting to find the town of that name on 'The New York Times Atlas of the World' map of Scotland, sorting my reference books by width, trying to get the bookcase to stop wobbling by stuffing a matchbook cover under its corner, dialing the telephone number on the matchbook cover to see if I should take computer courses at night, looking at the computer ads in the newspaper and deciding to buy a computer because writing seems to be so difficult on my old Remington, reading an interesting article on sorghum farming in Uruguay that was in the newspaper next to the computer ads, cutting that and other interesting articles out of the newspaper, sorting -- by width -- all the interesting articles I've cut out of newspapers recently, fastening them neatly together with paper clips and making a very attractive paper clip necklace and bracelet set, which I will present to my girlfriend as soon as she comes home from the three-hour low-impact aerobic workout that I made her go to so I could have some time alone to write."

~P.J. O'Rourke

10 comments:

S.D. said...

I love this! You just brightened what's left of my day :D

Mehak said...

i do this all the time too!

Leapfrog5950 said...

man, I had a great comment to make, but after all the time it took to register a google account (cause the undecipherable code word was unlegible) I forgot what I was going to say..... did she like the paperclip ensemble?

sputnitsa said...

HILARIOUS :)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I'm getting real good at avoiding writing. I just spent the last hour reading all your posts. Thanks, Nienke!

Cindy said...

Lol, I definitely have days like this. Though usually it's in response to editing. I have fourteen pages left to edit on this particular manuscript and I've found a distraction in cutting limes for my soda, checking my e-mail about a dozen times and even exercising. Ugh.

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Jenny Woolf said...

Great post! I don't only feel this about writing but about book promotion. I have just been sent a great big questionnaire by the publisher about my thoughts on publicity that relates to Lewis Carroll, and suddenly I feel an imperative need to see if I can improve my Tetris score - it's sooo good for hand/eye coordination!
Jenny Woolf

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Jaclyn said...

I love this quote. I am a 10th grade English teacher and I can't wait to share it with my students. Often when they get stuck with writing, they get frustrated and give up. Hopefully, with this quote, they will see that it happens to everyone, even professional writers.