At Black Gate Monday I’m going live with a long post about how writers sabotage themselves, and I thought of a corollary that I’ve been thinking of as the McCoy test. On those days when I find myself hesitating, or wasting time notwriting during my writing time I try to think a little like Dr. McCoy. If you’re not a fan of the original Star Trek you might still have heard an occasional reference to some of McCoy’s catchphrases. No, not “he’s dead, Jim,” but “I’m a doctor, not a moon shuttle conductor” or I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer,” or “I’m a doctor, not an escalator” and a few others.
I’m training myself to ask if I’m a writer, or a reader of news articles, or if I’m a writer, or a Facebook visitor, etcetera. It seems to help me remember to stay on task. In my case, I have to have reference books on hand to keep historical tidbits accurate, but they can be so interesting (and notwriting is infinitely easier than writing) that I sometimes lose track. Hence the McCoy test. Am I a writer, or a historical text reader?