I have a Twitter account but I don’t use it. The day I set it up and used it for the first time, I was at a conference and had the help of our trusty technician to show me what to do.
But back in the real world, Twitter just faded back into cyberspace and I had no need to interact with it, until now. There haven’t been too many days in the last few months when Twitter comments haven’t featured highly in the news. In fact, it seems that checking Twitter is the best way to stay informed of the latest political news in the US, with the most prolific Tweeter being the newly elected President.
As well as keeping up with politics, Twitter can be a source of inspiration for writing projects, which is why the following tweet provided plenty of food for thought.
I can’t decide if procrastination kills creativity or is essential to it.
— Grant Snider (@grantdraws) April 28, 2014
Do regular tweeters stare at a blank screen, waiting for the Inspiration Fairy Godmother to whisper in their ear before tweeting their 140 character limit of words? Judging by some of the tweets I’ve read, I think not. It seems that spontaneity rules in Twitter Land.
So the featured tweet, above, must surely relate to writers who write beyond the 140 character limit of Twitter-ville, and who, at times, suffer from what is commonly known as Writer’s Block.
Writer’s Block is the barricade that stands between you and the deadline. It’s the moment when every thought on the topic you’re writing about escapes you, and you and the blank screen stare back at each other, wondering which one will blink first.
That list of jobs that has been stuck on the refrigerator door for the past two weeks suddenly becomes important. There, right at the top is – wash the car! Armed with bucket, sponge and detergent, you make your way to the garage. And it’s in the process of applying the suds that your mind wanders back to the writing task. The more suds you apply, the more ideas emerge. By the time the car is all-suds-up, the story is there, laid out before you in every detail. But now you have a car covered in soap and if you don’t hose it off quickly, you’ll be driving around in a spotty car for the rest of the week. But, if you don’t get back to the computer right now, those ideas are at risk of evaporating, leaving you sitting in front of a blank screen, again.
It seems that procrastination could be both the stimulus and demise of creativity, leaving a writer caught on a ledge between common sense and meeting the deadline.
Perhaps the moral of the featured tweet should be:
Be careful how you choose your procrastination. Do something that can be easily abandoned once the creative juices start flowing.
Fortunately, for me, the following quote is closer to the mark.
For me, most of the anxiety and difficulty of writing takes place in the act of not writing. It’s the procrastination, the thinking about writing that’s difficult. Adam Mansbach
So the list of important things to do stays securely fastened to the fridge door while I write. When I find myself staring at a blank screen, the act of writing can push me past the barrier and send me hurtling towards the finish line. The hurdles along the way are easily overcome with the delete key. As the inspiration flows, the delete key erases the uninspired text. And so the writing progresses. And the car waits another day, or two, for a wash.