Thursday, July 2, 2009
Years ago, I was reading a writers' forum on the internet and the term 'pfaffing about' came up. Here's the theory:
When writer's block strikes and staring at a blank computer screen is enough to drive you to madness, somehow you need to beckon the Muse of Creativity to sit snugly on your shoulder and whisper the words that will fly from your fingertips. How? Go do something else.
Me? I clean. Now, maybe I'm a freak in the world of writers, but my best writing happens when I push up my sleeves and scrub the bathroom tiles, organize the filing cabinets, or sweep out the garage. You might think this is avoidance behavior. True, it is. I like a clean house, but I don't like to clean any more than the next person. It takes time, my hands get all cracked and dry from the nasty chemicals, and it's mindless work. But that last one is the key. Push a vacuum across the floor, chasing dust bunnies of dog hair, and there's not much to do but think. And that gives my imagination freedom to wander. So I dash over to the keyboard, pound out half a page and when I get stuck - AGAIN - I go mop. If my desk is piled up with paperwork, if there are fallen-over stacks of books in my bedroom, or if there is a snowy layer of dust on the furniture - I probably haven't been writing.
Yesterday my bathrooms got all sparkly clean... and I plowed my way through a challenging scene. Today I have to finish the chapter (my calendar tells me I must), so maybe I'll start painting the trim in the bedroom? Weird, I know, but it works for me.
So here's wishing all my writer-friends a tidy house and many brilliant pages. Pfaff away!
(P.S. Anita Davison will say this is a myth and totally untrue.)