Thursday, September 9, 2010

To Do: Procrastinate and Be Impatient

I’ve accomplished so much today! I’ve done three loads of laundry, emptied the dishwasher, and vacuumed the living room! I even cleaned my keyboard! What haven’t I done yet?

Oh right...


Procrastination is a sneaky little devil. Disguising itself as productivity, eating up precious hours, slinking into my day and refusing to go away.

Whenever I’m running errands, waiting in line at the post office or stuck in traffic on the 405, I fantasize about writing. I picture myself curled up by the window with my notebook while the words pour out with graceful ease. I’m glowing with creativity. Any man who happened to see me in this state would be immediately drawn to my intensely beautiful aura, stunned by the breathtaking sight of me in my element. It’s an idyllic tableau in my mind’s eye. Me. Writing.

But then I get home and open up said notebook, and I can’t find a comfortable position on the sofa. I have emails to answer and vital Tweets to check. I often end up inspecting my pedicure, reading my past writing, or rambling for a while before drawing a huge X through the page, punctuated by an angry scrawl – “Who cares???”

Procrastination gets the blame, but I know that impatience and self-imposed expectations are my real enemies. The unnecessary demand for results that stunts my creativity and keeps me from diving in without fear.

And then I remember – bird by bird. A brilliant anecdote from Anne Lamott’swonderful book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Any daunting task becomes less daunting when you break it down into pieces. Everything is written one word at a time. One paragraph at a time. One page at a time. Bird by bird.

And then, I write.

1 comment:

  1. Go, Teresa! I know all about procrastination, trust me! But yes, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time... Happy writing!