Friday, October 5, 2007

Chores To Avoid Writing

One of the skills that I have acquired as a writer is the ability to make it look like I am busy and accomplishing a lot when all I really am doing is avoiding writing.

Actually, I learned it as a wage slave (an interesting term that first showed up in the 1900's England; Karl Marx used it in his writings, but I digress). I was working for Renzios, a Greek chain of restaurants (the type that shows up in food courts). We were told to look busy at all times; I think that I was told that at Burger King also, though I really didn't pay much attention to the statement there. After all, it was easy to be constantly busy at the Burger King I worked at; not so at the Renzios location that I was working at--there were periodic dead times in the afternoon where we were required to be open by the building management despite the lack of business at that time of day.

(Interesting enourgh the location is still listed on some internet directories--gee, it has been closed for three years now; isn't it time to remove it?)

The reason that I started to play attention to the statement "One should always appear to be working" was Chris and Tom Renzios (actually Rentzios, but that is too hard for us Americans). Even though I butted heads with them periodically, I do have a great deal of respect for them. I won't be as sucessful of a business person as I am if they won't have taken a chance on me when they did. After all, it was my first taste of running a business--something that I have to do everyday as a writer.

Their reason was that customers do not like to see employees standing around; I suspect that it was really the fact that an idle employee was not helping them make money (aka milking the clock). Becoming a manager, I started to give the statement real weight--an idle employee was one that I did not need chewing up my labor.

Not that I was the model employee. Part of the problem was that heavy duty cleaning, and dishes could not be done while keeping an eye on the counter (manning the register). So I ended up doing a lot of writing during the last hour and a half of the business hours. It was something that could be done without having customers shout to see if I was present, or be horrified about how much grease a restaurant could generate.

It was here that I first started to notice that there were days when I was much happier cleaning or attempting to forcibly drag business in. Today, I recognize it as a form of writer's block.

One definition of a writer is that a writer is the only person happy to clean the toliet. It is true; a blocked writer will do anything they can to aviod the blank page.

For me, housekeeping is a sure sign that something is gumming up the process. And with my attention span, or lack thereof, my mind wandering to the housework that needs to be done is alarming. To get up and actually do it--shudder.

Now, I have various levels of avoiding writing. Homework is not really avoiding writing. Nor is going to class--I am a college sophomore; it is expected. Doing housework is worrisome, but again neccessary. Hanging out on MyLot or Yuwie is a tad worse, yet not panic inducing, same goes for doing research (both market and regular)--refilling the pond is necessary. And yardwork is a just a nice change of pace.

Now if I start the vacuum, that is when I should start to panic. And heaven forbid if I start to become social--like actually talk to the neighbors or wandering strangers.

A writer is only in trouble if things like this start to happen on a regular basis. It is a sure sign that something is wrong (assuming that the person is actually a writer; a writer has to write to live--it is the core of their existence).

I am not sure if I am in trouble yet. I only did some laundry, some dishes, and a bunch of hanging out at MyLot today. The last part can be racked up to me trying to ensure that I was going to hit payout this month. And the UPS man I had to talk to. I don't have an excuse for talking to the wandering produce salesman I talked to.

Of course, I can't say that I am really surprised that I goofed off today. I had a migraine yesterday, and then walked into a surprise test in Political Science (write three emotion filled paragraphs). I try to avoid writing with a migraine; it wrecks the progress for days (or at least the good part of the next one).

Hopefully tommorrow goes better. Because writer's block is the last thing I need to catch. But I am not worried too much considering the amount of interruptions I had during my writing of this entry (but that is a whole another rant).

No comments: