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message 1: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Bruton | 33 comments a space to slap one another hard in the face.

message 2: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Bruton | 33 comments I am failing to write about anything. I am not able to write a single word and it's killing me. I eat biscuits and gravy but I don't write. can someone help me.

Mr Savage Cushions esq (scushions) | 71 comments Just a thought... do you have a dictaphone? (not an app on a phone- you will be pulled over). If so, grab it, jump in the car and find a long boring, familiar stretch of road. This works for me - most of my 'writing' is done whilst driving. If I stare at a blank page or screen, nothing happens. I don't know why you cannot write - is it lack of ideas?

message 4: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Bruton | 33 comments I think I am at the stage where I think everything I write is a huge turd. maybe your idea could work. I will head to my straightest road...Gatwick airport.

message 5: by Cee (new)

Cee Jackson (ceeteejackson) | 178 comments I have been notable by my absence these past few months, mainly due to the symptoms you are currently suffering, Chappers my good fellow.
However, this weekend my Diane is away on a 'girls weekend' with 'girls' from the tennis club. I've also convinced one one of my elderly cats - the one with separation issues - that I AM his best friend and that sleeping under my seat in the garden is better than being shouted at for being a pain in the arse.
Additionally, it's been sunny and almost warm up here in old Scotty land and in fact, a real 'taps aff' day. Which means, a few bottles of Tsing Tao.

Combine the lot and ... well almost three chapters of 'Evhen & Uurth.'

I thank you.

Yeah - most will probably be bollocks when I wake up in the morning and read it over .... but seriously - I've decided to forgo all the so-called protocols and just write the damned thing and worry about the technicalities and stuff tomorrow.

So, yeah. In short. Seek the answer in the oriental properties of Chinese beer. The one downside to all this is that it's taken me about half an hour to type this rsponse and i'm now feeling a little drowsy.
Shit! The bath! Gotta go!

message 6: by Rob (last edited May 27, 2018 02:46PM) (new)

Rob Gregson (nullroom) | 386 comments Mod
Beer and driving. Two excellent suggestions, although their cumulative effect probably isn't great. I recommend lawn moving. There is something quite conducive to creative thought in plodding up and down a patch of grass with the noise of the motor drowning out other distractions. And you could probably do that after a beer or two.

That said, I'm at the "every idea is unworkable' stage, too. It's frustrating but perhaps it helps to think of it this way: what you're experiencing isn't writer's block, it's quality assurance. There may be unconscious processes working quietly away in the background, just waiting for a chance event to kick it all off.

You know what started me off on Shelf Life? I was on holiday, reading a label on one of the kid's swimming things and I misread 'quick dry' as 'quickory' which suddenly sounded to me like a character name in some sort of old fashioned children's tale. That got me thinking about how I could subvert that, and the story spilled out from there.

You're a writer. You write funny stuff. Drive, mow, drink... It'll come.

message 7: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 126 comments As it happens, I'm part way through writing a book about procrastination. You see, I'm a bit of an expert. I've been doing it all my life. I could procrastinate for England.

So apols that this is going to be a long post ...

The first thing to realise is that procrastination is a perfectly natural and understandable thing to do. We all do it. It's actually caused by a part of our brain trying to protect us.

A part of the brain called the limbic system deals with instinctive drives and survival. The limbic system is constantly assessing whether something is a threat to us or not. Is that rustle in the hedgerow a sabre-tooth tiger or just the beginning of Stairway to Heaven?

If the limbic system thinks that a situation is a threat, it will do its best to prepare the body to deal with that threat. It floods your brain with neurotransmitter chemicals such as adrenaline. Adrenaline conditions your brain to fight or flight. Either pick up a spear and go toe to toe with the tiger or run like hell in the opposite direction.

The other main natural reaction to a new situation is to decide that it's going to be pleasurable. Then instead of making adrenaline our brain produces dopamine - sometimes known as the happy drug. This makes us want to have that thing. Dopamine is at the heart of many addictive behaviours.

When we procrastinate over writing, it is generally because our limbic system sees our writing as a threat to us. We might have doubts about whether it will be any good. We worry about what people might say about it. I might be about to make a fool of myself. Every idea is rubbish. I'm not cut out for this. That sort of thing.

The brain produces lots of adrenaline and suddenly we can find every reason under the sun not to write. In fact, everything else seems a lot more attractive. We see something like writing a post on Goodreads and think "mmm. That will be fun." And that means we are getting adrenaline forcing us not to write and dopamine encouraging us to do something else.

So if that is what causes procrastination, how do we fight it? That's continued in the next post.

message 8: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 126 comments There are several techniques for tackling procrastination. We just need to find one that works for us.

The main thing to do is to "de-fear" our writing. It's very hard to fight against our limbic systems when we're full of adrenaline. So we need to tackle it at source. Make the thing we're procrastinating less scary.

Here are some I've tried ...

Kaizen: do something for just one minute. That's all. One minute doesn't sound too bad, does it? So put on a timer and give me one minute of writing.

Permission to write crap: editing is your friend. It's okay if you write something rubbish. You can always edit it better. Or delete it altogether. So write. Write anything. Write absolute garbage. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that you're writing.

Rules rule, okay? One weird thing about the limbic system is that it adores rules and habits. Rules and habits are comforting because they take away some of the fear. If we are following a rule, we must be okay, right? So set yourself some internal rules and follow them. How about 2,000 words per day? Or 1,000 before breakfast?

Use dopamine instead of adrenaline. We can sometimes persuade our brain to classify something as pleasurable instead of a threat. Focus on all the good things about your writing. Decide what colour Ferrari you're going to have when you make it. Imagine picking up the Nobel Prize for literature. Whatever. Write down ten reasons why your writing is wonderful and will only bring you deep joy.

And if all that fails ... send me your email address and I'll give you a free copy of my book!

message 9: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Bruton | 33 comments thanks everyone. it reassures me to read that book writing is not easy. I now know that procrastination isn't my enemy and will be employing the techniques you have mentioned. Had my garden been larger I would have mown it, but it measures 2.5 X 3 metres.

Have the cloggers ever had a physical social? If you ever fancy a central meet ( understand that some people are abroad) I would be game....might be the ultimate deprocrastination. You're all stars.

message 10: by Rob (new)

Rob Gregson (nullroom) | 386 comments Mod
You don't strictly need a lawn. You could befriend a frail old lawn-owning pensioner, for example. Or just use a length of cast -off carpet. (That's especially useful in bad weather or if you've already mown all the grass in the neighbourhood.)

Regarding a meet, I suggest we put pins in a map to denote our various locations, then put strings between them all and see what area is bounded by them. I've started with mssrs. Paine, Guernier and Holland, and thus far, that puts us somewhere in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Or the Pacific, if we went the other way around. I'm guessing that if we added the rest of us in, the centre of the area would be somewhere in the Mediterranean. Which would be nice. Anyone got a spare villa?

message 11: by Maurice (new)

Maurice Arh (mauricearh) | 37 comments CLOG is certainly a far-flung empire. A villa in the Mediterranean sounds nice.

Interesting to see that everyone also, like me, seems to get their inspirations somewhere other than in front of a keyboard. The only suggestion I would add to the mix is reading. It needs to be something rich in ideas that will send your mind spinning off in tangents. I've found quite a few of those little details that make a story interesting this way. Sort of like force-feeding your imagination, whatever you come up with tends to have nothing to do with whatever was written on the page and yet in some convoluted way is inspired by it.

message 12: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Bruton | 33 comments inspiration will come, you're right...just as certainly as milky wexit will affect the galaxy before trump's preserved body is found to be the cause of the swine flu that decimated sentient life in the universe.

Mr Savage Cushions esq (scushions) | 71 comments Still a bit concerned about the biscuits and gravy

message 14: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Bruton | 33 comments I too am concerned

Mr Savage Cushions esq (scushions) | 71 comments I have often heard people say, 'write when you are drunk, revise when you are sober'. My experience of this is that the state of intoxication inspires me to write and, during the writing process, I believe that it is good quality prose. The following morning, it becomes clear that the booze was exaggerating the standard but that, with a clear albeit thumping head, I can pick out the good wits and delete the kak. Either way, it gets me writing, but always remember to review it when sober. I therefore recommend booze if your having the ol' writers block. It also works if you're trying to pluck up the courage to call your boss an utter W**ker. So there's really no down-side.
Hope this helps

Mr Savage Cushions esq (scushions) | 71 comments 'good wits' should read 'good bits'. I tried to edit this but, having done so, there seemed no way of posting the revised version. Ideas anyone?

message 17: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Bruton | 33 comments I will be driving with my mower, drunk down the highways. all sound advice

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