One of the most important tenets for writers is the BIC policy – the BUTT IN CHAIR policy. The only way writers can write is by putting their asses in the chair and doing it.
Makes sense, right?
Well, BIC is hard to accomplish. It might seem a given that writers have a predisposition for writing, but really, if you’re any sort of regular writer (i.e. like me, or most of the writers I know), a lot of time is spent AVOIDING writing, POSTPONING it, or otherwise THINKING about it but not actually DOING IT.
At some point in their careers writers will get over this, or at least find a happy medium between actually writing and rewarding themselves (like with chocolate, or alcohol, or entering contests). But until they find that happy medium, or the precise freelance job that strikes enough fear into their heart to motivate them, the problem remains: how to accomplish BIC?
BIC is HARD. As writers, our first and foremost task is avoiding temptation. And I mean, of ANY sort. As a writer, I am daily tempted by the following urges: to sweep and mop all the floors, to wash every dish on the property, to make elaborate meals that I don’t really need to eat NOW but like, I might want to eat TOMORROW or could possibly freeze for NEXT WEEK, to run all sorts of errands I’ve been putting off for an indeterminate amount of time, to actually work more on my day job even though I’ve already put in the required hours for the day… and the list goes on.
The point is that procrastination takes an odd turn when writing is involved. For whatever reason, writers are a strange breed, wired to avoid the one task they WANT to do. So it makes sense (to us…let’s be real, I’m rationalizing here) that the threshold must be as low as possible in terms of ‘Things to Do’ prior to writing. Given our proclivity to inventing to-do lists just to avoid writing, we must have everything taken care of in advance. No speck of dirt, exciting mix of fresh ingredients, or misplaced towels in the kitchen to distract us.
So, the less physical preparation prior to writing, the better.
And this often means completely foregoing or otherwise neglecting personal hygiene, and/or frequent changes of clothing. Hell, sometimes clothing is entirely OPTIONAL. Because in order to get BIC, we have already overcome the incredible, insurmountable task of sitting down in front of the computer, not to mention having resisted the urge to polish the shower. You think we have time to put on clothes, or otherwise change out of them?
So this means that as a non-writer member of the living space/family/generally established commune, it is of the utmost importance that you do not comment on the sweatpants, the unkempt hair, or the slight odor of armpit that may or maybe not have been lingering for nigh on a week.
That often means wearing the same pair of sweatpants for a week in a row because come on, we’re fucking writing over here! Do you expect us to get dressed just because society does?!?!
After all that housework we’ve done just to avoid writing, or the vast quantity of meals we’ve prepared that we might as well just throw away because NOBODY NEEDS TO EAT THEM, or the attention to toilet bowl cleanliness that just goes unnoticed in this place? No. No commentary on the sweats is needed. It might look like we’re doing nothing in the house, but really it’s a battle of wills, a battle of cleanliness, a battle of procrastination the likes of which most professions have never even seen before.
So, to all of the people who have the misfortune of living with a writer, and otherwise sharing space with a writer for a period of time between one month to several years…please, don’t mention the sweatpants.
In fact, don’t mention the wine, either.
Because the wine is another important factor to BIC.
And if you mention it or try to take it away (along with the sweatpants), things will get ugly.