Tuesday, 26 April 2011

In loo of an idea for a post...



...I'm going to write about my time on the toilet this morning.

Eeeew, you're no doubt thinking (especially if you're from Across The Water), too much information. I've been accused of setting too many of my scenes in various conveniences, so why not go the whole hog (bog?) and set a blog post in the bathroom too? A Bog Post. :)

Sorry.

Do you do Loo-Lit? Where else can you sit comfortably for as long as you like, undisturbed save for the odd dripping tap, with the book of your choice? Loos are particularly suited to the reading of essays which set one up for the day. For me, something spiritual often fits the bill. OK, perching on the loo may seem an odd way to commune with the Higher Realms. But since my present choice of Loo-Lit is Finding Water by Julia Cameron, it's all very apt. I only need press the flush or turn on the tap to achieve the goal of the title. Fortunately, there's a sub-title: The Art of Perseverence. (Also apt, when not enough fibre has been consumed.)

All dreadful puns aside, I cannot recommend a book more highly. For anyone who's finding the writing journey a tough one - and who doesn't? - Cameron's been there. She knows what it's like to get up after a sleepless night and go to the page in spite of of exhaustion, crippling fear, inertia and the sniping inner critic. Less upbeat and gung-ho than The Artist's Way, Finding Water goes to the heart of the dark places a writer encounters, and offers wise guidance for working towards the light.

One of the most resonant things for me has been the realisation that writing keeps me sane. In spite of all the prevalent myths about writers being divas, alcoholics, depressives, drama-queens/kings and neurotics, the act of writing actually keeps one 'regular' (get the ongoing theme, here?) It's the not-writing, the writerly constipation, that causes the problems. We writers are dramatic people, in the sense that we're lucky enough to have a magic, scenic, exciting inner life. And we work best when that excitement translates to the page on a regular basis. I notice that when I'm writing regularly, just a bit every day, I'm happier, healthier and more human than when I exclude myself from my writing. When I'm not writing, I'm on the lookout for drama. I can make a crisis out of a missed bus or a burnt piece of toast. My moods shift dramatically. I pace around with the back of my hand glued to my forehead in an oh-woe-is-me kind of way. When, as Cameron puts it, one keeps the drama on the page, life becomes more centred, more fluid and more fulfilling.

So try to go (to the keyboard or the pen) at least once a day, whatever the inner (or outer) weather. Apply the seat of your pants to the seat. Sometimes you'll have the urge, sometimes not. But if you sit there long enough, often enough, something will emerge...

Keeping regular isn't always easy. But three pages a day is do-able. Three pages a day grows a novel, chapter by chapter. Three pages a day...

... and who knows, you might end up with a wonderfully Shitty First Draft.

14 comments:

Karen said...

Original and apt analogy - though I've never been one for reading on the loo myself!

I've heard about this book and am amazed I haven't got it as I have just about every other how-to book on the market!

I agree that perseverance is key, and although some days I have to force myself to the keyboard I always feel better for, ahem, passing some words :o)

Luisa said...

Ha ha! I loved reading this Bog Post. Thank you!

Gillian McDade said...

My idea of a loo visit is to get in and out ASAP! Although at the moment I'm spending most of the day in the bathrooms with my head down the toilet.

Major LOL Susie!

MorningAJ said...

Am I allowed to read in the bath instead? Mind you, if the definition of writer is "divas, alcoholics, depressives, drama-queens/kings and neurotics" I'm well on the way already.

Roderic Vincent said...

Is there anything that isn't an extended metaphor for writing?

Debs Riccio said...

Lol very much, Susie, esp. the 'shitty first draft'!
Rod, I'm beginning to think that NO, there isn't!

Caroline Rance said...

Fab post, Susie. Great analogy and I am in need of some literary Alpen at the moment, so I might give Julia Cameron's book a go!

Derek said...

Susie, a brilliant post - both funny and insightful.

I think matters lavatorial can be very successfully applied to writing in that:
1. The creative process often requires that we let go.
2. We ought never to be ashamed of our own creations.
3. Some writing can really cause a bad smell, and that's okay too. We just need a fresh perspective and some fresh air.
4. Erm... paperwork, anyone?

Caroline Green said...

Ah so much that resonated here! I sometimes escape the family by going into the loo just to read [SHHHH!]

And I also feel 'saner' [very much a relative concept in my case] when I write.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Thanks, everybody, for your comments - I left a reply but it doesn't seem to have happened. And (talking of constipation) my hard drive's gone, so I think I'm now heading for IHS (Irritable Howl Syndrome).
Susiex

CekaTB said...

We really did have a 'Bog Blog' at work - La Bosse reckoned it was the only way she'd get all of us to read the staff notices. unfortunately since we moved into our New Theatre (operating not drama) the idea has somewhat lapsed.

PD said...

Love this post.... I am a firm believer that Ideas spring from sitting on the loo.... mmm *races back in*...lol.

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