The worst part about being a writer for me is that I am such a fidget.
Blossom, a character in my book, The Psychic Detective Agency, would tell me that it’s because I’m a Pisces. She would say that I’m destined to swim against myself forever, choosing challenges that I will always try to sabotage. I don’t think it’s quite that drastic, but then I’m not Blossom.
The first time I experienced proper fidget-when-I-should-be-writing syndrome was at University when my first essay was due. Until that point, I suppose, despite writing for fun already for years, I’d never had to write to a deadline. The pressure of having to produce 1500 words by a certain date sent me everywhere but my desk. My computer screen yawned at me like a hungry mouth, waiting for me to throw some words at it. But did I sit down and write? No, I did not.
I started out by vacuuming the floors. Then the furniture. Then the curtains. I cleaned the bathroom, the bedroom, the kitchen and the hallway. Then I got to work on the cupboards. When everything else was shining and stinking of bleach, I polished the pipes under the sink.
I don’t have a problem with deadlines any more, but I do still have a problem sitting still. Or at least I did, until I discovered Zumba. It’s just the most effective way of getting rid of fidgets in a short space of time. It’s completely exhausting. A full body shake-down to Latino/Bollywood/anything dancey music that fools my twitchy self into thinking it’s actually at a beach party in Rio. 45 minutes of that a couple of times a week and I’m sorted – I can settle down and write with hardly a finger thrum or toe-tap to distract me.
The best bit is that there are no mirrors in the hall where I Zumba, so as far as I’m concerned, I look awesome when I’m doing it too.
What switches your fidgets for focus?