Summer fun, procrastination and my obsession with lists

I say this grabbing hold of a piece of literal wood – Summer has reached Somerset. It’s 28°C, the sun is shining, the dog is panting, and my freckles are merging. Summer holidays begin in  T -12 days, and so the list writing as begun. This year I did a brainstorm of things to do with the kids – going to the beach, going for a walk in the forest, swimming, arts & crafts… It’s all on the list of things to do over the 6 weeks they’re off school. It’s all very exciting. But is this because I love spending time with my kids? Well yes, obviously I love my kids and want to spend time with them, but I have to admit that part of it is pure procrastination.

Kane & Ellie’s story is well and truly stuck. Not forever, just for now. I have umpteen first chapters begging for attention, and I have some brilliant ideas buzzing around my brain. Unfortunately in my head and on my computer is where they will stay since I cannot get the most important part of fiction done – the physical act of writing.

I am desperate to start a series of novels. My characters all have names and backgrounds, and I have even started a family tree! (Well, I will do when I can find a decent piece of software that will allow me to create a fictional family tree and not insist that I input the data onto a website for all to use as part of their own research – preferably one that is free as well. Any ideas??) I have a basic storyline for the first book, and a more complex one to run through the series. I have even created two possible pen-names to use! But can I get it written? Can I **insert expletive**.

Writer’s block is not my only reason though. I recently stepped down from my position as a manager and editorial advisor at a website I write for. I am officially unemployed (unless you count that I am registered as self-employed due to my novel) and have gone from working up to 40 hours a week writing, grading, editing, fact-checking, title-seeding, marketing & promoting, and generally being fabulous to spending my days twiddling my thumbs and watching crappy daytime TV. Seriously – how do those that refuse to work, survive without dying of boredom? This is the first time in nearly 15 years (apart from when I was pregnant, which doesn’t count since I spent most of it in hospital) where I haven’t had a job. Even when I was at college I was still working occasional evenings as a youth worker. I do not like it. I am use to being busy. Although I do have to admit that now I’m not tied to a computer all day, my Facebook addiction has been curbed slightly, so perhaps it’s not all bad. And it won’t be forever I guess – not if I can get my bookshop off the ground.

So as part of my procrastination (or should that be distraction) technique I have begun writing lists. The house is more or less spotless, and there are only so many times I can vacuum before I wear away the carpet to the bare floorboards. It’s too hot to take the black dog for a ridiculous long walk without risking one or both of us suffering from severe heatstroke.  So the lists were created. Oh, and the business plan. Mustn’t forget the business plan. But even that’s started to slow since I can’t do much more until I have physical figures from estate agents, landlords, councils, and suppliers.

Lists for if it’s sunny, lists for it’s raining, lists for housework, lists for meal plans, lists for my daughter’s 6th birthday party… My poor fridge is buckling beneath them all. Perhaps I should write a list of lists that need to be made.

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