I'm running a new series of guest posts throughout 2015: Fetish Friday. Don't get all sweaty in the pants—I’m going back to an older definition of the word, and asking artists to show us something that helps them with the ritual of creation, some part of their surroundings—physical or mental—that eases the path into the creative state, whether it be a location, a piece of music, person, picture, a doohickey, whatnot, curio or ornament without which the creative process would be a whole lot more difficult.
I don’t believe in writer’s block.
I believe in procrastination, and writers are Procrastination Masters. And yes, that needs to be capitalised. But we tend to procrastinate when things are proving tricky and often it’s necessary to find headspace to properly ruminate on whatever that particular tricky thing is at that particular time. Trouble is, the kind of rumination necessary is something that can’t be done easily with the forebrain. It needs to percolate away in the hindbrain. At least for me, my subconscious is far better than my active mind at figuring out story nuance or just what the hell it is I’m writing. So I need to distract myself and let the old brainmeats permeate.
Lots of things work – mowing the lawn, walking the dog, going for a swim – anything that occupies my mind enough, but not so totally that it can’t stay busy in the mental basement. Those tasks that require engagement but not concentration free up the subconscious to work out writerly issues. And for me, by far the greatest of those is riding my motorcycle. It needs my awareness - I have to watch the road and watch the traffic (because the safest way to ride is to assume that every bastard out there is trying to kill you), and I can enjoy the scenery. Meanwhile, the dark and dingy basement brain is busily whipping its captives with barbed wire flails, extracting story juice. Whenever I know that a story or book requires some thought or I feel a bit lost and entangled in plot and characters, I hop on the bike. Or I put the story aside until I get a chance to go out for a ride and let that word baby simmer. And that’s only one reason my bike is a fetish item. It’s also super fast, hella fun and just damn sexy as hell.
I mean, come on - Look at it! VROOOOM!
Alan Baxter is a British-Australian author who writes dark fantasy, horror and sci-fi, rides a motorcycle and loves his dog. He also teaches Kung Fu.
He lives among dairy paddocks on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia, with his wife, son, dog and cat. His latest work is the dark urban fantasy trilogy, Bound, Obsidian and Abduction (The Alex Caine Series, HarperVoyager).
Read extracts from his novels, a novella and short stories at his website – www.warriorscribe.com – or find him on Twitter @AlanBaxter and Facebook, and feel free to tell him what you think. About anything.
Are you a creative artist? Fancy joining in and letting us know about that special item, object, location or cosmic state of being at the heart of your creative process? There's always room for another lunatic in the asylum: email me and make your most excited Horshack noise.