Let me tell you why I didn’t write for my blog last week – the printer ran out of toner.
Yup, that’s it, no toner, no printing, no writing.
I am sure you’re aware that all writers have little habits and rituals they do when they write. Sometimes these rituals are so powerful that a writer just can’t write unless the writing rules are followed. Now you’re wondering, what are Andrew’s blog writing habits and rituals?
My blog is written on Sunday afternoons just after tea time.
After tea I sit in front of my computer and start the creative procrastination. You know, read my email, check in on Facebook, adjust my chair, open the window, pet the cat, reread my last blog post and read the news headlines just in case there is something important that I might write about. I never write about anyone of those things, but best to check just in case.
Then I stress over what I am going to write about. Normally I take 10-15 minutes doing this. At this point I am ready to start writing and plow ahead with a paragraph or two. Once I am in about 100 words, I delete everything because I don’t like it. Normally I do this two more times before I realize time is getting away from me and soon it will be dinner time and I don’t like to do blog writing after dinner.
Once the pressure of dinner is on, I focus my mind and my fingers start banging away at about 20 words per minute while I alternately look between the clock in the right hand corner of the screen, the word count in the lower left hand corner and the text that is forming in the middle of the page.
Sometimes my brain engages and I delete a few words, but mostly I just let whatever has built up in my brain come out and take form. I’d like to say that I spend a lot of time carefully crafting these posts, but if you recall from my writing rules a few weeks ago, honesty is one of my rules.
At times during the writing, I’ll pause to look up a word in the dictionary, or something on google just make sure I’ve got the spelling right, or the correct word. Sometimes I do that for no real reason other than I like to look stuff up. For example, above I used the word, ‘incase.’ Spell check didn’t flag it, but it didn’t look right so I looked it up. Turns out ‘incase’ is an alternate spelling of ‘encase,’ while I really meant to say, “in case.” Fascinating. Sorry, don’t have time to figure out who spells it, ‘incase’ rather than ‘encase,’ as it’s getting close to dinner time and the word count is nearing 600.
Which is the next mile stone in the blog writing ritual. I try to write less than 750 words so at 600 I know I need to start building towards the conclusion. Since my brain has not had much of a role in the writing so far, and I want a good conclusion, I stop writing about here and go back and reread everything I’ve written.
Back in a minute …
Okay, here I am back at writing new text. I’ve made a few edits, mentioned to Heather I’ll be preheating the oven, and have decided that there is some hope for the post and moving forward is an acceptable risk.
Then after returning from the oven, I dive for the conclusion as I only have about 10 minutes before I have to jump up and put the pizza in and set the 15 minute timer.
This is where the printer toner comes back into the story (note the clever bookend of the toner which signals this post is about to end). You see, I am a horrible copy editor and an even worse speller. Often the well crafted sentence in my brain turns into gibberish when it hits the page. To overcome this handicap, Heather graciously comes to my aid every week. I’ll print out a copy of my post, clip a red pen to it and while we’re eating the pizza, she’ll read, edit and comment on the post. Then after dinner, I do a final edit and publish the post.
But last week there was no toner. No way to generate a piece of paper to clip a red pen to while the pizza was cooking.
I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t imagine a way to do all that writing and not go through the ritual of Heather reading my post over pizza. A pizza stained paper with red ink all over is just the magic that perfects my writing.
Without toner, it wasn’t going to be the same.
So last week you got a picture, while I was munching on a nice slice of pizza wondering if FedEx was going to deliver the new toner cartridge on Monday or Tuesday.
Till next week,