Yes, I’ve done it a second time. My procrastination has caught up with me. Thus, the next section of the story has been delayed, because I’ve written myself into a corner as usual. If you’re wondering what happens next, let it be known you’re not alone, because so am I.

In the meantime, I’m going to spit out this bit of Adams at you, just because it buys me more time. Incidentally, it describes a lot about writing I wish I could describe, but really, it’s because it’s buying me time. Don’t be fooled.

Douglas Adams on writing:

Writing comes easy. All you have to do is stare at a blank piece of paper until your forehead bleeds.

I find it ludicriously difficult. I try and avoid it if at all possible. The business of buying new pencils assumes gigantic proportions. I have four word processors and spend a lot of time wondering which one to work on. All writers, or most, say they find writing difficult, but most writers I know are surprised at how difficult I find it.

I usually get very depressed when writing. It always seems to me that writing coincides with terrible crises breaking up my life. I used to think these crises had a terrible effect on my being able to write; these days I have a very strong suspicion that it’s the sitting down to write that precipitates the crises. So quite a lot of troubles tend to get worked out in the books. It’s usually below the surface. It doesn’t appear to tackle problems at a personal levle, btu it does, implicitly, even if not explicitly.

I’m not a wit. A wit says something funny on the spot. A comedy writer says something very funny two minutes later. Or in my case, two weeks later.

I don’t think I could do a serious book anyway. I’m sure that jokes would start to creep in. I actually do think that comedy is a serious business: when you are working on something you have to take it absolutely seriously; you have to be passionately committed to it. But you can’t maintain that if you are going to stay sane. So when I talk about it to other people I tend to be flippant about it. I’m always so glad to have got through it, I say “It’s just jokes.” It’s a relief.

What I do now on many occasions is have, say, an inconsequential idea for a throwaway line that seems quite neat, then I go to huge lengths to create the context in which to throw that line away and make it appear that it was just a throwaway line, when in fact you’ve constructed this huge edifice off which to chuck this line. It’s a really exhausting way of writing but when it works…

It’s these kind of effects that take an awful lot of engineering, when you don’t necessarily know what the answer is going to be, you are just thrashing around in the dark trying to find something somewhere that’s going to help you get to that point. And when you are operating within a convention which says (or seems to say) “anything goes,” you have to be extremely careful how you use that.

–Douglas Adams, as quoted in Don’t Panic, p. 99-100

The unspoken rule of writers: If you can’t express it, someone who’s dead probably did, and they won’t mind all that much if you nick it, so long as you stick some quotation marks around it and write their name at the bottom.

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