Welcome, adventurer! You’re about to embark on the most difficult challenge known to any creative artist – ACTUALLY STARTING WORK.
Millions have tried, and millions have failed!
Will you be one of them?
During the night someone stole into your room, hung you upside down and lived out their Rocky Balboa fantasies on your face. It’s the only explanation for what you can see in the mirror – not that you can currently see much through that face. You need coffee before you can even think – hell, before you can even BE. And you’ve only got 3 minutes until you start your writing shift for the morning. Do you:
(a) get writing, and never mind the coffee? (Go to 6).
(b) go downstairs and make a pot of truly violent bean-juice, taking as long as it takes?(Go to 8).
(c) stand under the shower for 20 minutes, drinking Red Bull? (Go to 12)
It was an age of dragons, and heroes, and mouse-related repetitive stress injury. You lose yourself in it. You need gold and experience points. Do you:
(a) look for gold? (Go to 16)
(b) look for experience points? (Go to 16)
There is no such thing as a “single episode of Battlestar Galactica“. The afternoon and evening pass in a blur of Cylons. Pretty soon it’s time to go to bed.
But you still have another season to watch, so you stay up all night.
So that’s tomorrow’s writing schedule hosed as well, then.
Oh man, you could have been somebody.
OMG OMG OMG! @NASA has retweeted your tweet about space kittens! And now 1,737,763 people will want to know more about the peep behind the tweet! You HAVE to follow up while the social media spotlight is shining down on little ole’ you. Do you:
(a) immediately log onto Twitter and tweet out the good news, carefully phrasing it so it sounds like you and NASA hang out all the time, hey no big deal? (Go to 17)
(b) stiffen your upper lip, straighten your back and resist the temptation to fly your own flag online? (Go to 10)
You knock back a couple of stiff ones, and as the alcohol slams into your bloodstream you gradually un-knurd. Unfortunately your nervous system is so disgusted with you that it shuts down in protest, and you fall asleep, hugging your whisky bottle. When you wake up, it’s growing dark. It’s like being a student again – in the sense that you got absolutely nothing done today.
Aw, bless – you’re utterly pathetic.
Your lizard-brain is imploring you to do anything but sit down. You ignore it, sweat bursting from your forehead, and sulkily stab the Power button on your computer. It’s going to take a few minutes to finish booting up. Do you:
(a) get down on the floor and do a few stomach-crunches, like the very, very worst kind of asshole? (Go to 13)
(b) throw yourself down the stairs in a wild attempt to boil the kettle before boot-up is finished? (Go to 8 )
(c) shout at the screen for being so slow, curse computers, curse technology itself, curse Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Charles Babbage and that ape with the thigh-bone in 2001: A Space Odyssey, then go back to bed? (Go to 15)
Against the odds, against the formidable obstacles you threw in your own way, laughing in the very teeth of distraction itself, you did your work.
There’s hope for you yet.
(Well, until tomorrow morning).
Blessed is the evil bean of waking, for it sets your mind in motion. Coffee fumes fill the kitchen like smoke from a tire fire. As usual, in your uncontrollable lust to caffeinate yourself, you’ve made way too much coffee for one person. You drink one cup. Ohhhhhh it’s so GOOD – at the same time, you realise you can’t feel your lips anymore. Probably a good time to stop, then. Do you:
(a) knock the cup back and go upstairs to work? (Go to 11)
(b) knock back the remainder of the pot, however many cups are left? (Go to 9)
Two cups later, you can only see in black & white – worse, you’re going KNURD, the state of super-sobriety that hides nothing of the tedious awfulness of your daily life from your screeching, cowering mind. Why? WHY? You don’t know, but you wish it would all just stop. Hell, what’s the point in anything? Do you:
(a) lay in the hallway, screaming yourself hoarse? (Go to 14)
(b) attempt to drink yourself back into a productive state using single malt whisky? (Go to 5)
My word – it seems you CAN do this. Incredibly, you’re on the verge of starting actual work. Do you:
(a) celebrate by a quick session on the epic roleplaying game “Cloudlip” you bought on Steam just yesterday? (Go to 2)
(b) destroy the world, turn off your phone notifications, block social media sites and lean into the work? (Go to 7)
You’re ready for this. You are READY. What are you? Yes – READY! Crowd roars! Your computer has booted up – oh, wait, it’s still not done, you need to type your password in. Another wait. La dee daa. This is wasted time, and hey, if you used your phone to check the internet, it’s not technically a distraction, is it? Do you:
(a) resist the siren-like call of e-mail and social media? (Go to 10)
(b) grab your phone and check your e-mail, Facebook and Twitter accounts? (Go to 4)
This is delicious. You’re loving this the way cats love cat-nip. Who cares about deadlines? I mean, everyone has to give themself a little slack, yeah? And once you emerge from the bathroom, you’re going to be on fire, chile’. You daydream for a while of Pulitzer Prizes and shiny red sports cars.
Two cans of Red Bull and an appalling, environment-slaying 40 minutes of showering later, you realise you’re running late. But that’s okay – you can make up the time later. Do you:
(a) step out the shower, towel yourself briskly and get to the writing as soon as possible? (Go to 11)
(b) take your time purrtying yourself up in front of the mirror, then go downstairs for a coffee? (Go to 8 )
Early to rise, late to bed, makes you healthy, wealthy and dead. You’re feeling super-virtuous, so you flip over and start a few chin-ups. Unfortunately without any caffeine in your system there’s nothing propping up your feeble writer’s frame, and your bones, muscles and sinews are immediately stretched beyond breaking point.
You suffer a series of wildly unpleasant sensations, and then you pass out.
When you wake up, it’s after lunch. Your working day is over.
Also, you’re going to be in traction for the next month.
Way to go, GI Joe.
You lay there, resting your head on the welcome mat, shrieking. Frankly, it’s rather relaxing. Yoga for the throat. It’s a little worrying the way you initially can’t stop, but after an hour you get yourself under control, just in time to be hit in the face by the snail-mail as it’s thrust through the letterbox at a speed suggesting a postman in the throes of mortal terror over what he can hear.
You’re feeling much more alert, but it’s well past mid-morning. Do you:
(a) immediately go upstairs and sit down in front of your computer, ready to salvage your working day? (Go to 11)
(b) Decide the morning is written off, and since you’ve got an hour before your afternoon writing schedule kicks in, watch a single episode of Battlestar Galactica? (Go to 3)
You instantly fall into the deep sleep of successful denial. When you wake later, you’ll hate yourself. But while hard work pays off over time, laziness pays off right now. And hey, you never wanted your dreams to come true anyway – after all, what would you have to dream about when you sleep in every day? Exactly.
With the whole of the bountiful land of Cloudlip to play with, you quickly find what you’re looking for. But you need more! Do you:
(a) look for gold? (Go to 16)
(b) look for experience points? (Go to 16)
Once on Twitter, you discover an amazingly unmissable conversation about how long pieces of string should be, and you end up telling strangers they are complete idiots, which is enormously satisfying. The morning passes briskly until you realise you haven’t even checked Facebook yet, or updated Pinterest. You do this, taking your time as of course you should (because you’re an artist, not a hack).
Then, since you once heard of someone whose friend lived next door to a person whose brother got a job through LinkedIn, you spend 2 hours cropping yourself a new profile picture from the least worst Christmas party you recently attended.
After that SmugMug, Stumbleupon, Flickr and Klout all need your input. (Or you need theirs. Same difference!).
Then someone pings you on Skype.
You are now so far down the rabbit hole that not even the soles of your feet are showing. There’s no escape for today.