“Cats and Glass Tables”

I braced myself for the Story Structure workshop thinking we would go straight into discussing each of our projects in minute detail, sharing first impressions, giving each other feedback, making the most of our temporary ‘you’re a perfect stranger, I’m going to be perfectly honest/objective’ mindset. That’s my thing – I rush. And for some reason, I often believe everyone does the same.

Luckily, our session with Kate Leys addressed story structure from a very different perspective. We started off by discussing the importance of looking back and analyzing chains of events - a simple exercise in connecting the dots you can practice on your own life journey and then perfect on the characters you write. On the day, I wasn’t terribly successful at reaching a particularly meaningful conclusion, but now that a few days have passed, there might be something relevant to share.

As any writer, I’m very frustrated with my tendency to put things off. If it could in any way pass for a skill, procrastination would be listed on my CV, up there with my degrees.

Decidedly, 90% of the time it leads to nothing but stress, an insatiable appetite for meals you absolutely have to make from scratch and getting angry about the time you wasted. But every now and then, as you meander away from work, a seemingly irrelevant piece of information you come across sticks with you… then rears its head by association in other places… later pushes you to read that ‘one last article before I really need to get back to work’… ultimately materializing into a story that polarizes you and demands you share with the world.

As a matter of fact, the feature I am developing through RISE is the result of countless hours spent not working on other projects, watching viral videos that have turned anonymous people into overnight sensations instead. A social commentary emerged and I am really excited to develop and dramatize it in the months to come.

So procrastination all of a sudden becomes useful, says perspective. A moment that today felt wasted, with time, might have a bit of a butterfly effect. It’s not exactly reinventing the wheel, but accepting that blanking is just as much part of the process as writing itself takes some pressure off, allowing creativity to find an unexpected source of inspiration.

Here’s a cat, seen from a different perspective. Procrastinator’s find.