“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.