Right, pay attention in the back. Now, as my dedicated readers will know, I have mooted I would be running a creative writing course. And, despite the confusion posed by the absence of tobacco and alcohol, I have managed to put together my first lesson plan.
Lesson One: Getting Started
It is most important for the wannabe writer to settle somewhere quiet, free from all distractions.
If, as you settle yourself, you have a nagging feeling there is something you have forgotten to do, start by making a list of all the chores you have avoided over the last six months.
Now is as good a time as any to get them done.
I find polishing silver very conducive to the creative process. You may find black-leading the fireplace, polishing the doorstep, or washing the skylight equally as stimulating.
This process may take time. Two to three weeks is not unusual. The trick is to try and complete your tasks within the month or you will find the silver needs polishing again, the fireplace re-leading, the doorstep polishing, et cetera.
So finally, you are at your desk without a care in the world. Turn on your computer and spend a few minutes getting yourself in the mood by checking the blogs of all those fellow writers you follow.
The Readers Digest is so right; it does pay to increase your word power. Today, for instance, I discovered the word 'conniption' thanks to this post from Scott. According to Chambers, it is 'a fit of hysterical excitement or rage. [Origin unknown]'.
Don't you love 'origin unknown' in definitions. It's a challenge. The Online Etymology Dictionary posits a couple of thoughts for conniption's ancestry: '1833, Amer.Eng., origin uncertain; perhaps related to corruption, which was used in a sense of "anger" from 1799, or from Eng. dialectal canapshus "ill-tempered, captious," probably a corruption of captious'.
The Podictionary points to the first person on record to having a conniption fit as being one Aunt Keziah:
'The reason Aunt Keziah had a conniption fit was that back in the early 1800s the entire population of the town of Downingville in New England had prepared for a visit by President Andrew Jackson.'
[If President George W. Bush had claimed to be suffering from conniption, meaning he was constipated, would we have been surprised? Doubtlessly, we would all have been hysterical, but he had that effect on most of us, most of the time.]
It is now probably too late to think of writing, so make yourself a warm, milky drink, turn down the bedspread, place a notepad and pencil by the alarm and go to sleep.
Lesson Two will concentrate on the next stage of the creative process: Despair and Feelings of Total Uselessness.