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Just Add Eggs

When you’re baking a cake, the easiest thing to do is go to your cupboard, pull out a packet of already prepared cake mix, throw in a couple of eggs, a cup of water and hey presto, about an hour later you’ve got a piping hot, super moist vanilla cake just waiting for the ready made icing.

I’m a huge fan of ready to make things. Pasta and sauce, cake mixes, curry in a jar. You name it it’s probably in my pantry. Not sausages in a can though. Those things taste like feet.

After my post yesterday two things happened. Firstly I ended up with the following title “Humourous gay erotica mystery story idea where funny stuff happens” and a migraine. I didn’t get the migraine because I was writing. I got the migraine because that’s just how I roll.

I got to thinking how cool it would be to simply be able to find a ready to mix writing idea. All laid out, just waiting for an egg, some water and a oven set to 180 degrees. I also got to thinking that honestly, 2 panadeine forte should have been enough to kill the migraine dead in the water, but that’s a story for later.

Plotting and planning is  a big deal in my writing world. Why? Because I said so. Also, because it seems to be the place I both start and finish. When I was younger I’d sit at the computer – or type writer, lets remember how old I am – and write by the seat of my pants. I’d have no idea where I was going, what I was doing or what was going to happen next. I’d just set finger to keyboard and see what happened.

I had some fairly good times doing that. Seeing what was lurking in my head and what on earth was going to come to the front. I’d write like it was an adrenaline sport. Climb a tall building, jump off with only a pair of undies to use as a parachute type of thing.

As I got older I used to write till I was foggy. I’d sit down with a glass of wine and write. Force the words out until I couldn’t concentrate and forgot what I was doing long enough to break into a heart felt rendition of the Sister Act Soundtrack – 1st one, not the second.

Now I do neither. I don’t drink, nor do I write like I’m extreme BMX biking anymore. I actually don’t write at all.

Now I plan. I’m big for planning. I get hot for planning. I get all sweaty and heavy breathing. Once I plan I know the story and thus the story is done without writing a single sentence.

I find it’s better for me to sort of meet in the middle. I know now, by the time I’m trawling Google looking for pictures of actors  I plan on basing the characters looks on that it’s done and dusted. I’ve got folder upon folder upon folder tucked away in removable drives these days of half-baked literary cakes.

Moments of freedom that are trapped on illusionary paper waiting their turn to be written.

Writing to me comes down to two things. The drive to do it verse the confidence to do it. I have a bad habit of wanting perfection. With every word.

I had a new staff member who started with my company on Monday. He was gone by Wednesday. I knew on Tuesday there was going to be a problem. 90% of the job is being on the phone, asking questions. Researching, writing, tweaking, inviting speakers. It’s all about the phone. When I had a meeting with him on Wednesday morning I asked him if he was okay. He said this…

“I don’t like this job because I’m not good at it.”

I was sort of surprised by that and then couldn’t help myself when I said “You’ve been here for 16 hours, how on Earth do you expect to be good at anything in 16 hours? It took more than 16 hours to learn to walk, to get your degree, to learn to tie your shoes. You need to give yourself more time to learn how to do the job.”

Ultimately he didn’t want to do that. So we parted company and I hired a replacement the next day.

I guess my point here is this; it’s all well and good expecting perfection, but if you’re only going to give it 16 hours before you quit you need a smack. I do the same thing. With my writing. I give it a look, decide I can’t do the project justice and then curl up on the bed for a Golden Girls Marathon.

Friday evening I enrolled in a 12 Week Body Transformation course. It’s a low calorie diet and exercise programme designed by one of the coaches on Australia’s Biggest Loser. I enrolled. I’ve posted in the forums. I’ve met a couple of people. I’ve already started working on my excuses as to why I won’t be able to do it properly.

I’m excuse driven. I can come up with them faster than most people can bake a cake. I don’t even start before I start to prepare the ground work for why it didn’t work. I’m sick of excuses. I have the same amount of time as everyone else. There’s no reason why I can’t do something. I just never expect to succeed at it.

The 12 Week Body Transformation program is designed to show me that with work and effort I can achieve something external. I can transform my body from pudgy nearly 40 year old to the fittest I’ve been in nearly 20 years. It is going to take effort, and work. It is going to take commitment and sweat. But it’s not going to take excuses. Excuses just aren’t going to cut it.

My Queerotica Porn Star led Mystery Novel isn’t going to write itself. It’s going to take effort and work. It’s going to take commitment and sweat. It’s going to take more than 16 hours.

I just wish I could come up with a title.

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43 year old Australian writer currently working on the first of a planned three book Epic Fantasy series. When he's not writing policy discussions, or tales of swords, Gods, and magic, he can be found making a mess in the kitchen, and turning perfectly good ingredients into crimes against humanity.

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