Procrastination. If there were an Olympic event for it, I would have more gold medals than Michael Phelps.
When I don’t want to do something, I’ll come up with every excuse in the book not to do it. And for the last few days, I had been putting off a creative writing project. Why? I wouldn’t call it “writer’s block” (although I do experience that too from time to time) because I hadn’t even opened a Word document yet. I’d been procrastinating for the same reasons I put off working on Baby Grand in the spring. Plain and simple: scatteredness. My mind is all over the place — PTA programs to work on, food shopping to do, freelance writing to assign, blog posts to write, children to hug and kiss, etc. I used to think that when I put off writing it was due to fear — fear that it would not live up to what I hoped — but although I’ve come to realize that while that is indeed true, that I experience doubt all the time — and that’s normal — that’s not really why I delay, delay, delay. I just do. Something doesn’t feel right. I’m not in the mood. Whatever. I don’t put my writing first, like I should. But once I’m inside that creative world, I’m happy, I thrive, there’s arguably no other place I’d rather be.
It’ just getting there that can be tough for me.
But I got there yesterday. Finally. Here’s how.
Wake up. Running late. As usual. Pull kids out of bed. Make lunches. What?! We have no bologna? Wait, we do. A few slices. Mental note: Buy bologna. Hug and kiss children goodbye. Good luck on your tests. One child left. Make oatmeal. Make lunch. Find clothes for him to wear. What’s wrong with this shirt? Pretend to ignore boo-boo face from child. Cave. Look for SpongeBob shirt. Find clean clothes for myself. Brush hair and teeth and hope for the best. Find camera. Upload guest blog post. Run out the door with little guy. Wait?! Where is your jacket? Yes, you need a jacket.
Drive little guy to school. Melt when he blows kisses at me. Park the car. Sign in. Take photos of the Native American kindergarten program for PTA. Drive home. Say hi to husband who is working downstairs. No, can’t talk. Lots to do. Download pix of PTA program and write press release. Send to principal. Gotta start writing.
Ack! 42 emails. Answer some. Delete most. Assign a few stories for Family and Salute magazines. More emails. Principal says press release is a go. Yay! Send out to local press. Gotta write. Put some laundry in washing machine. Gotta write. Realize I haven’t spoken to my mom today. Call her. Leave a message. What time is it? 11 a.m. Might as well have lunch. Sit down with Sesame Chicken and Rice. Try the Sudoku in the newspaper. I hate Sudoku. What do I put myself through this? Voila! Finish the Sudoku! Who’s better than me? What time is it? 12 p.m.? What?! I have to write.
Sit at the computer. 39 new emails. Answer some. Delete most. Check Twitter. Facebook. Hmmm, I wonder how many visits today’s blog post received. Check that too. Husband’s here. Can’t talk politics. Gotta write. Refinance the mortgage? Now? Whatever you want. Where do I sign? Gotta write.
Do crossword puzzle in the newspaper. Well, why not? I’m on a roll with Sudoku. What time is it? 1:30 p.m. Kids will be home at 3. Put laundry in dryer. Chastise myself for not writing. Can’t start now. Kids will be home soon. Don’t want to start something without enough time to really focus and…
Walk upstairs. Force myself to sit down in front of my laptop. Force myself to ignore email. Force myself to open Word document.
Write. This is bad. I can’t do this. Tell husband I’m a failure. I have no talent. Ignore eye roll. Just write. Who cares. Write. Write. Write. Look at the time. 2:30 p.m. I can’t write. Yes, you can. Ignore the time. Go. Keep going. This is hard. Reread what I wrote. This stinks. Edit. Maybe I should teach. Resist the urge to check email. Write. Write. Reread what I wrote. Not bad. Keep writing. Edit. Edit. Edit. No, I should say this. Smile. That sounds better. Feel the words coming.
Hi kids. How was your day? Yes, that’s all we have to eat. Write. Keep going. Don’t stop. This feels good. Pick up little guy from bus stop. Go back to the laptop. No hesitation. Write. Write. Smile. The words are coming. Feel the groove. I’m conscious of it. This feels good. Like warm syrup. This feels right. Why is it so easy now? Why didn’t I do this earlier? Don’t think about that. Just write.
Children circling. Must be dinnertime. What time is it? 5 p.m. Smile. Happy camper. Close Word doc. Start dinner. Life is good. Don’t forget to buy bologna, mom? Don’t worry. I won’t. (I did.)