I bought a ukulele.


“Why?” you might ask. “You already have a basement full of musical instruments you never use.”

And that would be a valid question. It’s true, I do have an electric piano I ignore. Cow bells, bongo drums, harpsichords and all kinds of entertaining doodads. But I felt the need to add something new to my AENTW collection. AENTW, as any writer knows, is the acronym for Any Excuse Not To Write. Non-writers are not familiar with this term because they believe, quite logically, that writers love to write. If they didn’t, why would they do it?

Another good question. One I’ll try and answer some other time. Right now, I just want to talk about my new ukulele. And AENTW. I should come up with a better acronym, something that fits the letters CRAP, but for now we’ll stick with AENTW.

We writers do love to write, most of the time. When we’re starting a new project and the ideas are fresh and the scenes come quickly. Or when we’re in the midst of writing a scene we know is really good and the book, or story, or whatever it is we’re trying to create, is coming together just how we envisioned. Happy, happy writers we are at that time.

But there are times when we sit down and decide to check our e-mails first. Then FaceBook in case something mind-blowing has happened overnight. Then some of our more favourite blogs, something that may induce our creativity or take our mind off why our main character isn’t doing anything interesting and hasn’t for awhile. In other words, we’d rather do anything than write.

Writing can be a chore. A job, and a very low-paying one, at that. One we can do in our pajamas, but still, damn tedious at times. So when social media fails us, we turn to our AENTW collection as a last resort and, funnily enough, it usually works.

Plonking away on musical instruments, that I never spend enough time on to get any good at because my first and foremost love is writing, seems to open up my mind and takes the pressure off trying to get the words right. I wail away on some three chord Bob Dylan song and just as I’m picturing myself on stage, I remember I’ve got a writing deadline to meet. So I’ll put down the ukulele, or the guitar or whatever I’m torturing at the moment, and get back to my computer. Because by now, I’ve forgotten my main character is a problem, or at least is not as big a problem as I remember, and I’m ready to move on. Doesn’t always work…but it does often enough to justify adding more instruments to the AENTW collection.

In fact, I feel an urge to plonk right now. And hopefully, after that, I’ll actually get some writing accomplished. Maybe.








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6 Responses to I bought a ukulele.

  1. Linda says:

    This sounds very stressful…… don’t you like TV?

  2. steve.capper says:

    It’s quite true that writers will avoid the word whenever they can find something else to do. Commercial programmes are available that will prevent the internet being accessed after a set period so that one MUST get on with it! You see, that is why writers ARE writers, and not grinding away at some miserable 9-5 job like everyone else. They just lack the stamina and single mindedness that makes Jack-of-all-trades go in of a morning and just get it done. (and of course, it’s OUR lack of imagination that means we can do this crap stuff)

    • ajcap says:

      It’s not the lack of imagination that makes you do ‘this crap stuff’ of going to work 9-5 everyday, it’s the fact you need an income to eat and pay for shelter. If someone is lucky enough (like I am) to have someone willing to support them while they play at being a writer, it takes the very sharp edge off trying to support yourself on a writing income.

      But my time is limited. Come summer, my writing better be bringing money in or I’ll be looking for a part-time job. I can’t expect charity forever. And I sure in hell am not going to put myself in a position of asking anyone for $50.00 so I can go buy a pair of jeans.

      I sincerely believe I lost my job at this time in my life for a reason. To give this writing a shot, and succeed or fail, at least I had that shot. I sure hope it works out. I really like working in my pajamas.

  3. S. J. Crown says:

    Actually, the CRAP acronym doesn’t apply until the second draft: Can’t Rewrite Another Page

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