Since starting at the Colony, I’ve had dozens of ideas of things to write, posts to make, images to share and projects to embark on. Yet, in the 2 months I’ve been working here (it’s been 2 MONTHS?)….I’ve made exactly 3 new posts on this blog. 4 counting this one.
For whatever reason, even though I’m inspired, even though I feel like I have the time and I want to exert that sort of creative energy, I just can’t. I can’t sit down and stay still. I feel like a writer, but I’m having a real tough time being one.
Instead, I’m shopping for new boots at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, starting books and putting them down when I lose interest only to go and find another one, cleaning out my closet, finding new ways to cook vegetables, and making any excuse to go for hikes at this park! Or that one. Or what about that one?? All the way in Chattanooga? Yes! Road Trip!!! And don’t forget 1/2 price cheesecake on Monday! That should take up a couple hours…
You see, I’ve been thinking a lot over the last couple of months about calling myself a Writer. Being defined by my hobby. Feeling confident in using the term, rather than just brushing it off in embarrassment for lack of accomplishment (see my previous post). I’ve been thinking about it, but not doing much about it. And I think that maybe this struggle I’m facing right now – maybe that’s part of what makes me a writer at all. A desire, a fear, a need, and an avoidance. And the fact that it “makes” me a writer, well, that makes it okay. Right? I’m just playing the Tortured Artist, that’s all.
But sitting here in this moment, I’m easily reminded of why I bit the bullet and decided to write this afternoon. I’ve discovered that, despite my love of grandeur, I do believe in finding beauty and happiness within simplicity, and while I can certainly name the moments where I have experienced this the most and I don’t experience much difficulty in finding it, I still struggle with sticking to this creed and believing in its pure value.
Yet even right now, in this perfection, I’m sitting on the step outside the kitchen, marked by black and yellow caution tape in an effort to thwart off any dangerous falls, and the windchimes are ringing above my head, and the breeze is just cool enough to ward off any unwanted sweating, but I’m suddenly conscious of the way my stomach is reflected in the screen of my laptop and I’m wondering if I should stop typing and do a couple hundred bicycle ab crunches before I continue any further. I’m also thinking I should refill my water cup, top it off with some more ice, maybe grab a snack, switch the laundry, check on the drying glue of a bracelet I just made and perhaps read another chapter of Bird by Bird for some more inspiration. Ooh, and those boots should be arriving soon! What should I pair them with? ….This moment could be perfect, but I’m thinking of a lot of ways to get out of it.
Maybe it’s because I fear hitting “Publish”. I fear putting all the work into one good post all at once, only for it to be done – that moment when I have to think of another new topic and start all over. And then, maybe once I do post this, and once I post the next one and the next, no one will even read it. No one will get it. No one will comment. I’ll just be another rambling void in the interspace. And so maybe I procrastinate, as so many do, because I don’t want to face the fact that I might fail. And maybe I procrastinate because sometimes there are things I’d rather be doing than researching the 1920s in Hollywood and finding out that my short story is all wrong and now I have to re-write the whole thing.
Less than 24 hours after I “finished” this post, we were visited by a poet at the Colony. His presence assured me I wasn’t quite done with this topic. You see, this man writes a poem a day. It doesn’t have to be great, good or even finished – but it’s a routine he’s kept to for years and years. His reasoning, which was something I’d never heard before, was that if you don’t write that day, you’ve missed something you never would have seen, thought or put down in any other moment. Even the minutest detail may be something that would be missed at any other time.
It’s a little extreme, but if you don’t take the time to capture yourself in this moment, it’s gone forever, and you may have done yourself the greatest disservice of your entire career. (This guy had a way with the melodrama.) But fellow writers – we know he’s not wrong. I’m sure you’re all too familiar with the feeling of holding onto a sentence or a set of words, repeating them so that you won’t forget them before you’re able to write them down, only to lose them as soon as you put pen to paper. It’s scary to think that if you’re not writing, you’re missing out. It’s the FOMO of the writing world. And procrastinating isn’t helping us one bit!
Let’s face it: we are a procrastiNation – but that doesn’t mean it’s good for us. Just like processed sugars, Little Debbie cupcakes and Diet Coke, we’ll always cheat a little. But maybe if we invest in some protein and veggies we’ll feel a little better about ourselves. (I mean, I may have just found a really convenient angle, but I’m not worried about the reflection of my tummy at all right now and I’m writing up a STORM. Too far with the metaphor? OK, OK, I’ll slow it down….)
I’m well aware that being a procrastinator doesn’t make me an original….but it sure does put me in good company. I’m using this revelation to make some changes in my process – because that’s all you can really do – find something else to focus on, right? With the sincerest of hopes that maybe this time the distraction will actually lead to some intentional results. I’m certainly still learning to embrace this role as Writer – and the more that I’m exposed to other writers and their habits, the more aware I am that I need some good ones of my own.
So I think I’m going to commit. Maybe I’ll write some Morning Pages…or maybe some Nighttime ones, when my head starts getting all swirled up and refusing to succumb to sleep. And those pages might serve me for this blog, or they might allow me to get the things off of my chest that don’t belong online. We’ll see how that goes, if it makes things flow better. If it makes me post more…or less.
And now I want to know – what are the funny things that YOU turn to in order to avoid the inevitable? And how do you get back in the groove? Can procrastination be a good thing – like it was when I needed to write a successful 5 page paper for AP English in a few nights’ time? Or is it the devil? Is it a dangerous road that leads to a land of no return? Personally, I still think it’s nice to work under a little bit of pressure. Plus, doesn’t it feel better to do your writing in that kick-ass pair of boots you got on sale from Nordstrom? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯