The cookbooks can wait

Cath Keenan starts us on our writing journey

So it’s the first of September and the first day of our inaugural Pen to Paper Challenge.

Thanks so much to everyone who’s signed up – all you dozens of fantastic writers who will use your words to help us raise money to show even more young people the power and fun of the written word.

My goal this month is to write an essay about what I’ve learned from kids about creative writing.

So it’s time to start writing. Great! I love writing. Everyone at the Sydney Story Factory loves writing. And I’m totally going to start writing, once I’ve tidied up my desk, made a cup of tea, and found that special pen I like which will make the words flow more quickly (where did I put that?). And I really should order the groceries online first, or we’ll have nothing for dinner on Friday. Actually, perhaps I should look up some easy recipes for weeknight meals so we don’t have to have pasta sauce again. There must be something here in my cookbooks. But what a mess they are! I should really put them in alphabetical order.

What is it about writing that invites so much procrastination?

I know there are writers who don’t do it. I know there are writers who can make use of a seven-minute wait on a train platform, or who get up an hour before their kids to write in the dawn silence. But I have never been one of them.

Before writing chapter three of my doctoral thesis, I dusted every skirting board in the house. Becoming a journalist only made things worse.

How does anyone start writing without the threat of a deadline about to whoosh by?

I tell myself it’s all part of the process and in a way it is. While dusting the skirting boards I ruminated on what I’d been reading in the library the previous six weeks, letting it settle in my mind, like the dust itself, a metaphor that probably distracted me for minutes on end.

I can’t quite dislodge the belief that sometimes you need to sneak up on your writing ideas, pouncing on them when they think you’re not looking. My record for maintaining this belief is about a week.

Then I realise I just have to sit down and write.

Which is exactly what I’m going to do.  I’m so glad you’ll be joining me. The cookbooks can wait.

To support Cath and ensure she stays away from the cookbooks you can make a donation on her Everyday Hero page. Thank you!