Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Nasty Little Spider Solitaire Addiction by Mar Preston

Am I the only writer out there who is addicted to Spider Solitaire? I can sit at my desk with my current mystery open in one screen, and all too easily switch screens, and allow myself only one game. Then two. And so it goes.

When I’m feeling generous to myself I call my obsession with Spider Solitaire a kind of thinking, plotting, planning, letting my mind run on idle while I think up the next brilliant twist in my new Santa Monica mystery.  But I know different.

It’s seeking rest from my own mind in a funk of non-thought.

It’s not as if I feel the world is breathless with anticipation for my next mystery.

I’ve already twitched back and forth from my Facebook Pages to Twitter to email just to see what’s going on. Like there’s ever anything going on with Twitter.

In an effort to limit my Spider Solitaire addiction, I placed a five minute timer on my desk, the old fashioned kind where sand runs through from one compartment to another.

Anything to delay the agony of composition. Perhaps you’re familiar with that great yawning space on the page below your last good sentence?

I’m working on a first draft of two mysteries; one set in Santa Monica, one set in the tranquil village where I live. I’m working on two at once because the theory was that when one got hard I could turn to the other.

Guess what?  They’re both hard.

In the end it all comes down to self-discipline, rooting myself in my chair, opening the file and reading over the last horrible bit of stilted writing that lays there inert on the page.

I know that if I dig through it long enough, something catches fire. I find myself correcting a comma. Then I rearrange a sentence, and maybe the next paragraph isn’t that bad. Oh! Something twitched in my brain. Ah, an idea. And sometimes off I go. If I can just drag my fingers back from Spider Solitaire.

I’ve written four mysteries now. I can do this again. It’s not hopeless.


Mar Preston said...

Am I really and truly the only writer who wastes time?

Anonymous said...

Nope, you're not.

C.M. Albrecht said...

I'm on Klondike Solitaire. I think while we're playing, our subconscious is quietly working in the background. Today, after a long dry spell I suddenly had a happ breakthrough on my current effort. Heh heh. Back to Klondike!

Kathleen Kaska said...

I don't know spider solitaire, but I do sympathize with your funk of non-thought. I just finished my latest and have not yet begun my next. I'm not sure why, except, maybe I don't want to. That's so not like me. Instead of solitaire, I've been watching the bird fights at my feeder. Sad, really, sad. I just hope C.M. is right!

Nancy O. said...

I don't know if this entry is about your addiction to spider solitaire, or your inattention to your writing.