Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Sunday, 30 August 2015

DISPLACEMENT ACTIVITY Linda Mitchelmore

Ah yes, displacement activity. Writers know it well; doing something else - anything - rather than get on with the manuscript they should be working on. When my husband sees me with the feather duster, and dusting under things on the mantelpiece instead of around them he always asks, 'Shouldn't you be getting on with your writing?' How well he knows me!
We're all guilty of displacement activity at times, although I think it's rather like greatness - you know, one is either born great, achieves greatness, or has greatness thrust upon one. This summer I have had displacement activity thrust upon me - displacement through so many people wanting to come and stay which is one of the mixed blessings of living by the seaside. And who can blame them if they live in a city or spend most of their working hours cooped up in an office? And, of course, when visitors come to stay I like to go out and about with them.
I am full of good intention - I will get up early and write, I will write when everyone has gone to bed, I will carry a notebook at all times and jot down ideas as they come to me (which they often do but which somehow never seem to get written down). So, I go sightseeing with them, and I see the beautiful area in which I live through fresh eyes.
I have a writer friend who writes 2000 words before she allows herself breakfast every single day of the year, no matter where she is, be it on holiday, or travelling, or has a house full of visitors. Nothing seems to keep her from her daily total and I often think even fire and flood wouldn't stop her either. I am in awe. She is, of course, very successful and multi-published. When I have visitors I am always up first, setting the table like a bistro restaurant and driving down to Sainsbury's for fresh croissants. My poor guests would die of hunger if they had to wait for me to write 2000 words! And then, breakfast over, I am planning lunch - and this year I have served up scores of breakfasts and prepared a zillion lunches and suppers.
It has all been most enjoyable, if tiring, and .... expensive! Time, then, to get on with writing something that will earn me money, ready for the 2016 wave of summer visitors!

14 comments:

  1. Goodness - I'd be very late having breakfast too! I'm sure all the 'displacement activity' will prove to be good research :) Angela Britnell

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes, Angela, writers waste nothing in the long run, do they? Thanks for popping by.

      Delete
  2. One of the perils of living in a beautiful place, Linda! But I'm sure those visitors brought a good few story 'ideas' with them for you to mull over during the winter months. In a perfect world I would also writer 2000 words before breakfast ... but I almost never do! Today I managed 500 after breakfast, so am moderately pleased with self :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 500 words sounds very good to me - who has written nothing creative yet today! Must try harder. But sometimes, after lots of visitors and being a tourist in my own area it is so very hard to get back to work......but I will!

      Delete
  3. Honest Linda! I confess I'm with you - there's always something tempting to do ... This summer, there's been quite a lot of golf - especially during August, with the weather so nice here. Or even just sitting on our gorgeous balcony grabbing every moment of sun because you never know when it'll be sunny again ... and then it is, so you grab that too!

    I've been revising recently, a book I wrote a few years ago and which will be published in the next few months. Amazing how many faults I've seen in it, not having looked at it for so long! But that has diverted me away from the new novel, and now it's proving hard to think myself back in. And with several away trips in September and October, and an important writing commission to complete (of which more anon), there's even more displacement ahead. Roll on winter days!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one, Jenny! Balcony-sitting sounds rather fine - more of the same before year's end we must hope. Keep us all posted re the new(old) novel coming out.

      Delete
  4. I admit to a lot of nodding whilst reading this post. I can always find a distraction to keep me away from writing. Although recently, I'm trying to write daily.
    Sometimes, it is only for fifteen minutes, other days I manage two hours, and I keep telling myself it'll soon be time to batten down the hatches. Dark nights are almost upon us and our writing productivity shoots up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, Maria, thank heaven for dark nights, and dark mornings and indifferent afternoons! I would say most productive time is just after New Year until about April....:)

      Delete
  5. I am a starer-out-of-the-window and am sad to say that the highest level skill I have acquired through writing is that of doing precisely nothing!

    That said, when I get started, you can't stop me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is this life of full of care, we have no time to stand and stare .....or something like that! Keep staring Jennifer, it is good for the soul!

      Delete
  6. We all need a bit of displacement activity from time to time - my house would probably never be cleaned otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh, that's extremely honest of you, Mary, but sort of 'ditto' here!

      Delete
  7. Hello Linda, you sound like the perfect host. Right now, I'm staring out of my hotel window at the sea covered with night clouds and the sound of the howling wind - awesome sight & sound. I'm on holiday with my family. At the moment, I'm on displacement activity until I return to London.

    ReplyDelete
  8. My displacement activity is reading this, tee-hee! I mightn't be a novelist, but I've been writing non-stop for almost 20 years at non-fiction pieces for magazines, and even as there's a deadline in 48 hours' time for my next monthly antiques column in a national glossy, I'm still reading rather than doing!
    Margaret P

    ReplyDelete