Silly ramblings about a writer’s weird habits

It’s one of those days when I wake up with an urge to write, and I rush to my desk, but end up staring at the laptop screen in confusion and I can’t think of anything to work on. Oh, I do have lots of ideas, three novellas I started but never finished, many short stories languishing in my skull like imprisoned ghosts, a novel I’ve struggled with since 2017. I think I just need an appropriate opening for this novel; I think I know how to finish each novella and the short stories are impeccable in my head, but I just stare at the screen and can’t think of any words. Blogging too. It once was my fallback thing whenever I found myself struggling to rediscover a writing rhythm, but now I have over ten drafts of blog articles. All I need is to give them one rewrite and hit the publish button, but well, I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t want to call it a writer’s block because I don’t believe in that bullpoop.

If you have a dollar to spare, consider supporting my filmmaking journey via Patreon or Ko-Fi. I’ve had some success with writing, most recent being nominated for the Philip K Dick Awards with my second collection of short stories, Where Rivers Go To Die. However, success in film outside of Uganda has eluded me, so I make short sci-fi for target practice. Even pledging a dollar can do a lot to my confidence. I intend to make four short films this year, and I’ve already made one, Lanyonyo, about a girl in a rural part of Uganda, who programs a robot to help her mother with domestic chores, but has to contend with religious extremists who think her mother, a diviner, is evil.

Read about How I keep Forgetting Faces

Writing Lanyonyo was a joy. I made only one draft of the script and then jumped into production. I didn’t struggle with the writing for it’s subject has recently taken hold of my imagination. Every story I write ends up being in this theme: how African communities view science and technology. Or, perhaps I should say, knowledge that doesn’t have a foundation in the West and in Persia. When you think of it, we believe the laws of the universe because of what people like al-Khwarizmi said about mathematics, and what people like Isaac Newton and Einstein said about whatever it is they are famous for. We were forced to disregard other knowledge systems as gibberish because they didn’t fit the white man’s world view. So I like writing sci-fi with technological ideas grounded in these knowledge systems.

That subject should be enough to get me out of bed every morning and straight to my writing desk, but for some reason I’ve developed a bad case of procrastination. It started around October last year, and yes, procrastination is the word. Not writer’s block. Plain old silly laziness. Could it be that I am tired of seeing my desk and need a new one? Ah, my writing desk! You want to see it? I bought it in 2005 after I got my first good paying job. It was the third real property I bought, the first was a bed, and the second a computer. You see, I was in my early twenties, just starting out life, and so I had a list of priorities. Bed, because well, I had to sleep. Then computer, and it was on the floor for a while, it doubled as my TV as well (I think I only bought a TV after I was well into my thirties) I lived in a really small town of Uganda back then, Kamuli, and I got this desk for very cheap. I’d have paid five times the price if I got it in the city, Kampala, because it’s made of mahogany. The strongest wood. I’ve bought other desks since and now have three in my office. One for writing, two for film-making and 3D stuff because I need space for those huge electricity consuming computers. The other desks feel flimsy compared to this beauty. Perhaps if I become famous it will end up in a museum after my death (dreams, you know).

Do you, as a writer, have a favourite desk?

A stack of books against a plain white background, the books are yellow and white, African design, half an African mask on one side, the title is A Killing in The Sun. Dilman Dila
A Killing in the Sun, my first collection of stories.

Oh, and I have this chair that I got along with the desk. The leather is all tattered, and it feels like it’s something from the 1700s, but it’s more comfortable that these hi-tech swivel chairs with wheels. I spent a fortune on one, and the thing was so annoying; it would sink on its own accord and I would find myself under the desk, rather than on top of it. One day, it just stopped swivelling, so I dumped it in a store and went back to my old armchair.

Read: Laughter Sells More Than Horror

Sometimes, I write while lying in my bed. On my back, with the laptop propped up on a pillow on my tummy. I like reading in this position. I rarely read while sitting upright, unless I’m in a plane or a vehicle travelling somewhere. If I had a hammock, I’d lounge in it to read, but those are dreams. When I’m older I’ll buy a house by a riverside, or a lakeside, far from other people, and hang up this hammock right next to the water, with a book shelf beside it. Yes, I know, mosquitoes and bugs spoil this view of heaven, but perhaps I’ll train a parrot to perch on the hammock and eat anything that invades paradise.

Anyway, writing in this position is not much fun. I only do it late in the night when sleep won’t come, and when I’m too lazy to drag my butt to that eaten up armchair.

Often, when I want to beat that procrastination disease, I write while stark naked. Uhm, you see, I sleep without any clothes on, and so when I awake, if I do anything, even if its cleaning my teeth, or making a cup of tea, I get distracted and fail to start writing. So I sit on this tattered chair in my very expensive Adam’s suit, feeling the old sponge in my a*hole, the torn leather scratching my butt, and I write. I sit there for perhaps three hours before hunger drives me to the kitchen. I still won’t dress, and sometimes I’ll be like that the whole day until I’ve finished my writing goal. Then, I’ll dress up.

Read: One of those gloomy days

I think my neighbours found out that I like moving around the house while naked. I don’t know how they found out but just shows they are nosy. I knew when one made a joke about it, when I took long to open the door after they came knocking, and they said “oh, don’t apologize for taking long to open. We know you like walking around your house naked, so perhaps you were getting dressed.” I let it pass, but such things are traumatising.

I wonder if I’m the only writer with such weird writing habits?

Okay, enough rambling. I started this blog post as an attempt to beat the procrastination disease, so I hope it will get me back in the mood for writing. I’ll try tomorrow morning.

An old wooden arm chair covered with red leather. The leather is torn up and the sponge shows in some places.
My favorite chair, still strong and beautiful all these years later

Support Me

Now that you are here, I have a small favor to ask. I regularly make science fiction short films and I’m looking for your support. It’s very difficult to make it as a filmmaker in Africa, where there is virtually no market to encourage big film investments, and so any dollar you can spare will go a long way into changing things. Please pledge on You only pay after I make the film, and you can stop payments at anytime. For other options, like donating via mobile money or PayPal, please go here 

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