“One day, I’ll sit down and write that novel…”

As famous last words go, that’s up there with the best. Likely you’ve heard it said at least once. Possibly even uttered it yourself, while not really believing it will ever happen.

Unfortunately, when it comes to procrastinating, modern man seems spectacularly adept at finding new and ingenious ways of avoiding writing that dream novel, article or screenplay so beloved of our inner creative voices. The same voices we so easily drown out with the trivialities of everyday life.

There will always be a “one day”. Very rarely do we allow ourselves to see it.

Upon hearing these words most writers will offer a wry and understanding smile. They are all too aware of that old adage that writers hate writing, but love having written. They know well the perils of distraction, the barriers that often prevent great ideas in the swirling vortex of the mind from being plucked out and presented to the world.

If ours was a story, the internet would be villain-in-chief — its empire so vast you could wander it for a lifetime and not see all the temptations it had to offer. Its minions would be televisions, XBoxes, PlayStations and DVDs. Even the written word would play its part, although it might flit from side to side, both helping and hindering our hero, the writer-to-be. Yet in the end, during the inevitable plot twist, the true villain of the piece would be revealed.

A-ha! It was fear all along — our long-standing femme fatale!

Rather irritatingly, that wily wench always knows what makes us tick. For centuries she has lurked in the shadows, waiting for us to find our voice and dare to bear our innermost thoughts, before leaping out and poking us in the eye with a firm: “Nobody will like it, you miserable worm. You’ll be a laughing stock!”

Of course, to her it’s just a game. Praying on the weak of spirit and generous of procrastination, she has broken many before us. Yet there is a simple cure for her poison.

You see, the hero of our story can learn to ignore her. He can realise the internet is actually a friend who will help spread his voice far and wide — that’s how you’re reading this, after all — and that those devices of distraction can engage our emotions and inspire us like at no other time in history. Most importantly of all, he can discover that to write, all you really need to do is write.

Pen on paper. Black on white. Whatever you like, however good or bad you think it is. Get something, anything, down on that crisp, clean sheet of paper — virtual or otherwise. One word or several paragraphs, it doesn’t matter. Once you start, the rest will follow.

Would-be heroes, tonight is yours for the taking. Start that novel, plan that script, propose that Daily Proposition! Use the voice you’ve been dying to share and stupefy that femme fatale with your written word. She’s asking for it.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey