I'm back in Ottawa after a tiring, inspiring and fulfilling few weeks away. I spent eight days in Haiti and ended my travels with five days in New York, where I'd been a little afraid nothing would come together and that part of the trip would look like I'd tacked it on just to go shopping or hang out in Manhattan. In the end, I had some great interviews that pulled together what I've been working on.
Now I'm staring at this blank page and avoiding starting. It's not even about waiting for the words to come, because obviously they won't come until I start typing. Every writer knows this but every writer has a highly refined set of procrastination techniques. If I recall my delay tactics dating back to university finals, my apartment will soon be sparkling clean. I will all of a sudden be simply unable to concentrate without washing all the baseboards or bleaching the grout between the tiles in my shower. And when was the last time I scrubbed out the refrigerator, or emptied the entire cat litter box and washed it down?
I'll be sitting at my kitchen table, coffee in hand, placed as far from my TV and HBO on-demand as possible, but those dusty baseboards and yellowed grout will be all I can see. How could anyone focus with such filth around them? Nevermind that I have a cleaning lady who will come on Sunday.
Over the years - in particular when I spent a few months freelancing and worked from home - I also developed some techniques to try to thwart my inner lazy person. I would go to a coffee shop, for example, and not ask for the wifi password. Without internet access, I'd bore myself into working. But for now, I'm only on day one of writing, so I'm not quite ready for such drastic measures. Besides, I should really get on Pinterest to find out the best cleaning solution for bathroom grout.