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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Eggsacting Times

Feathers are flying. Egg count diminishing. No wait, Zero Eggs last count. Our Cackleberries are officially Off The Lay. Apparently you can't make eggs and new feathers simultaneously. So as our beloved chookies lose feathers by the doona full, so we lose our supply of happy eggs.

So what now? What do you do when your production drops off? How to you maintain your productivity? What keeps you driving forward with your writing or your life when all you feel like doing is hunkering down and waiting for the miracle of new feathers or inspiration to reappear?

Well for chooks, it's all about the amount of daylight they get a day. The more they get the more they are inclined to lay eggs. So...

1. Install an industrial strength fluorescent light (the kind film gaffers use) over your desk. Direct glare into your eyes and watch the colours of inspiration swirl before you.

 Chooks love a warm high protein mash of grains, garlic and chillies. Gets them through the winter months and supposedly entices them to lay again. So...

2. Eat more roast silverside dinners over winter, preferably with cauliflower and lashings of thick cheesy sauce if you're not into wheat mash.

Chook hormones respond well to verbal threats and the waving of sharp implements over their heads. So...

3. Sulk off to computer when significant other (aka common old husband) yells at you, "For Goodness Sakes, stop talking about it and just write the damn thing!"

Let the chooks out for a bit of a wonder and muse around the garden. Happy chooks produce happy eggs...So

4. Turn the computer off. Shut the note book. Go outside, lay down on the grass and look at the clouds. I bet they all look like chooks about now. Point is do something completely removed from trying to reach that word count, finish that scene, validate that character. Just breathe and rest your mind. Your spirit will thank you for it.

Chooks tend to huddle together at this time of moult for warmth and mutual support. So...

5. Focus on connecting with others in your times of need. Use your social support networks, read around for new advise, speak to like minded readers or writers so you know you're not the only one temporarily stuck in the mire. Better still become part of  a connected effort such as the Queensland Writers' Centre recent Down the Rabbit Hole Challenge or the International Writing Sprint Group  hosted by Angela Sunde, all designed to focus your effort back into the art of writing with no distractions whilst being part of a common purpose and whole.

It's worth knowing that you can't really con a chook into coming on the lay again after they have moulted. It's something they are already pre-programmed to do. It's a question of hormones. And time.

I don't believe every little lapse and delay in the forward thrust on your project amounts to the chooks' equivalent  of being Egg Bound.....the dreaded Writers' Block. It's more a complicated slurry of procrastination, self doubt, time deficiencies, laziness, and quite possibly celestial alignment. A bit like moulting.

If you can't wait for your all-important-inspiration-writing-hormone to sort itself out, sometimes it serves to just sit down and write rubbish. Anything will do, chicken scrawl away. Might just be the boost you need to step up your production again.

Now I've just got to pop out and BUY?? some eggs. Well you can't expect me to serve up a half cooked manuscript to my family for breakfast now can you??