The one with the slippery slope

If you have a nine-to-five job you might think that being a writer is awesome: no routine, no boss to boss you around, long lunch breaks every day of the week… Well, let me tell you something: too much freedom can be a slippery slope.

It can start innocently, say, with an unexpected family thing. You’re the one without a nine-to-five job so you’re the one to deal with it. Writing can always be done tomorrow. And if the family thing turns out to be a bigger thing, well, than tomorrow can be put off for a couple more days.

The good thing about the writer job is that you can grant yourself holidays whenever you need them. You’re exhausted after the family thing? Take a day off. Who’s gonna tell you that you can’t? You can just stay on the couch all day an watch tv. You can binge on that tv series you started a couple of days ago, when you had to unwind in the evenings after dealing with that family thing. Nothing like a beer and an episode to unwind, right?

So you rest for a day and finally you’re ready to get back to writing. Only it turns out that a bunch of errands accumulated over the last couple of days while you were dealing with the family thing and recovering. So you take care of the errands cause you don’t want anything distracting you when you start writing tomorrow. And once you’re done with the errands you can reward yourself with an episode or two.

They do make some good tv these days. So it’s not a waste of time too, not really, it’s sort of research. If you watch consciously, not just space out and laugh at the funny bits, but really pay attention, you can learn lots of good stuff. About character work. And about intertwining plots. And all sorts of good stuff. Very insightful.

You can also learn what it means to hook the audience. It’s when you have to watch an episode first thing in the morning, before work. (You can do it, cause it’s not like you have to start writing at nine on the dot, right?) And it may be that this episode ends in a particularly suspenseful moment, and you just have to find out what happens next so you watch one more. That’s when you learn about cliffhangers, very valuable technique.

A cliffhanger is when I leave you, dear reader, with a question you’re dying to know the answer to: Did the writer ever get back to writing? Or did he fall down the slippery slope?

To be continued…


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