Sunday 20 June 2010

Digestive Biscuits to Dunk

I’ve been looking at the statistics and although mathematics is not my strongest suit I’ve calculated that since the first of January a significant 36% of non-comments to this blog fall at the weekend.

It seems that if you aren’t going to comment you have a significantly higher chance of doing so (not) at the weekend.

Any other day has only a 14% chance of being no-comment.

So, in the belief that this means that any readers are too busy at the weekend to visit Bitsnbobs I have decided to offer the Sunday Digest.

For anyone just too busy, or leading a more exciting life than, er me I guess. Every Sunday I will post the Weekly Digest.

At some point during this post I will decide if it’s called the Sunday Digest, The Weekly Digest or perhaps the Digested Digest.

If you are a regular reader this is not an invite to give up and become just a digester, you will clearly miss out on, er lots probably, nor is it an invite to miss out the digestives – they will include something extra, a sort of free promotional gift I guess.

This being the first one will have an air of being made up as I go along, future ones will be more coherent and logical, I hope.

So what did you miss in the last week?

On Monday and Thursday there were important pictorial clues to the stubbornly ignored but still there, Football World Cup Quiz.

On Tuesday there was a link to a recipe I can personally vouch as being very tasty - mainly because it was one of my own and was thus forced to eat it.

Football figured quite heavily this past week often in the company of goats, or least the memories of goats as the real ones have been moved across village following the romance that has blossomed between former goat herder and local cow maiden.

The end of the week featured a poem and a philosophical debate about happiness, pleasure and chocolate (though cherries were an alternative) that began to rage in the comments.

And there’s another poem there too.


Vicki Hollett said...

I'm not sure whether you've decided on a title for this new blog feature or not, but if not, I vote for 'The Digestive'. Though you might need to run that by your US readers first.

My American friends sometimes look a little dismayed when I offer them a biscuit and they ask what it's called and I explain it's a 'digestive'.

And I have a question for you.
Aside from your all the great funny inventive insights, postings, jokes, observations etc on this blog, it has another very interesting feature:
There's a new post everyday.

You seem to do it effortlessly, but do you sometimes find it hard? And if so, do you have any techiques for overcoming blocks?

popps said...

A Sunday comment!
Thank you Vicki and in your honour the Sunday Post is now The Digestive. (Let me know though what an American calls the biscuit - I’m sure they don't say "pass the chocolate almanacs please".
Let me show you the scars! (Apologies to bob Dylan)
You have raised an issue, which I suspect is coming from the professional within you - as I know you are working to publisher deadlines sometimes.
I am not, obviously, and any pressure to write is only coming from myself, which probably plays a part.
It hasn't been stated but yes I try to write something every day, either it is the first thing I do, like now, or the last thing in the evening.
It's a very solitary moment.
Which I enjoy, but sometimes I get grumpy if a family intrusion intrudes.
"Oh, look, Mr. Grumpy is on his laptop."
I think part of the key is believing that writer's block doesn't exist.
Someone once wrote that you never see such a phrase in any other profession - builder's block for example doesn't exist so why should writer's?
On the other hand maybe the writers block I’m suffering from centres on the several ideas for novels that remain unwritten and these posts are the block and me trying to write my way out of it.
I think discipline in writing is very important, choose what you are going to do and then do it - so me I chose write something every day, so now I have to do it.
If I’m tired I go for a run or cycle with an idea or question in the head, that usually jogs it out.
From my time in the theatre I learnt that for improvisation you have to be open so it's a sort of blank openness that I try to enter into.
However, you are being very positive when you suggest that what I come up with is in any way worth reading – there are definitely some “fillers’ in there.
For example this
And this
And everyday – it’s an illusion – in the last 12 months I only reached 30 or over once - in December when I posted the films. Otherwise I’m a few days short.
Sometimes it’s harder than others, a lot of stuff gets scrapped and deleted, my documents folder is full of opening lines that haven’t gone anywhere and if I’m really stuck I look through there and see if I can take them further.
Sometimes I write a dialogue of what is going on in my head as if it’s too people, sometimes I start with what I can see.
I have been trying to post an original photo each day too and sometimes that is the inspiration.
I do have a copy of “Writers Block” on my desk. I bought it in the USA, published by Jason Rekulak and running press it was printed in the form of a block and you can find 786 “ideas to jump start your imagination” I haven’t had to use it yet but it’s there.
Opening at random today I get –“Girl Power – we can do it” and a govt wartime poster, so that one’s for you and I’ll open it at random again. I get two pages of writing – “the importance of avoiding adverbs” – I’ll read that later.
Looking around the house there are quite a few books like this – I’ll list them in a post, as this is now way too long.

popps said...

ps, sorry, that was very long winded.

popps said...

If you get blocked here are some ideas.

Why do Americans speak about a Republican Party and the English about the Republic of Sheffield?

Driving on the right or left?

The influence of The American Dream on language.

Mirror and update any Of Bill Bryson's chapters in "I'm a Stranger here myself"

Wimpey or Big Mac?

My Way.

Vicki said...

Wow Chris! I feel like you have written another whole post all for me! Thank you so much!

I agree with you about discipline. I'm not feeling blocked, but I do need to come up with some ideas fairly fast that fit quite specific bills. So all your thoughts on for inspiration are much appreciated.

I have this idea that when stuff is slow coming out, it might be because I haven't put enough words in - so I reason I need to read. And I think it sort of works because ideas come, but not necessarily the ones I need at the time.

Ideally I think I'd like to write books out of order, so jumping around from one thing to another, writing up ideas when they come. That doesn't always work well with publisher's deadlines though.

I find walks often work for me too. I can't ride a bike without wobbling, but a shower can help and just when I'm drifting off to sleep is a good time. I keep paper and pen beside my bed and should probably work out a way to take them to the shower too.

I'm going to save this now in case I lose it.

Vicki said...

I just wanted to add I loved the tailor made block removal assignments you set me. When this book deadline has passed I'd like to set work on some of them for the blog. Thanks Chris!

Mary said...

[Here's my 2 cents worth] Thought-provoking musings on writing, Chris. I agree that much of so-called writer's block is self-inflicted by distraction and lack of discipline -- the only way to write is to start and keep going until you are immersed in your topic -- sometimes this takes a minute, sometimes longer, and sometimes you have to throw out half of what you wrote. That's okay. I don't give in to the BLOCK but I do make sure that my working area is fairly clear. Could just be a stalling tactic, though. Sometimes I work to music or the radio, specifically CBC radio or Jazz 91.1. Seems to help for blocking out the rest of the world and inspiring focussed written expression.

As an example, just listening to CBC radio where authors are analyzing and debating a quote by Dostevsky that was repeated in Solzenitsyn's Nobel Prize lecture -- "Beauty will save the world".

Something to think about.


popps said...

I'm very happy how The Digestive is becoming the home of informed comment and debate!