I am very happy to have Yvonne Navarro making a virtual stop at Read My Mind today. She's guest posting about procrastination; the good, the bad, and the it can wait another hour.
Life with a Side of Procrastination
I wish I was like Harlan Ellison. Or... not.
Okay, a part of me does. Harlan is a great man. He's older now, so maybe
he's not writing as much, or getting into arguments, or just putting up his verbal
fists and fighting the world like he used to. I just want the first part (one out of
three ain't bad, right?), because I already have all the stress I can handle and
any more might make my head explode.
Harlan once banged out a huge chunk of writing on a typewriter while sitting at
a desk in a bookstore window. He did it to prove that he could write anytime
and anywhere. He is clearly a better person than I am: he throws everything
else out the door, and he writes. Period. I, however, have let the weight of
responsibility take precedence over this most supremely important thing in my
life. The issue is that there are a lot of important things in my life, and in my
constant mental quest to prioritize, the writing ends up way down on the list.
The house has to be kept presentable, the bills have to be paid, I have to go to
the day job in order to be able to pay those bills, the job carries its own stress
that doesn't adhere to my attempt to switch it off at four p.m. The Husband
needs attention, the dogs need to be fed, I have to see to my elderly Dad, the
roses need to be watered, a family or friend's event has to be attended. Et
Not too bad, until you put them all into seven days and watch the writing time
drizzle to zip, even on the weekends. Because that's when the errands have to
be run, the groceries have to be bought, the kids have to be taken care of with
events and problems of their own, the dogs have to be taken to the vet. Et
cetera. Now that free time is a late, exhausted hour or two on Friday and
Saturday night and the best I can manage is a glass of white zin and a dull
stare at a TVO'd HBO series. Fun, right?
Listen, and I'm telling you this as much for my own sake as yours, if you're a
writer, or an artist, or a fan who wonders why your favorite author doesn't
respond to every Facebook comment or email, or a parent who's running her-
or himself ragged every darned night:
Who the heck said that the stuff you want to do the most has to come last?
Procrastination is not an evil word except when it applies to the stuff you love
Learn to procrastinate.
Revel in it.
The dogs won't waste away if you feed them an hour later.
The roses will still bloom if you water every three days instead of every other
Pay the bills on time, but organize so you do it once a week instead of worrying
over them every day (doing that won't make them go away).
Let your Significant Other do the grocery shopping, and laugh about the
sardines in mustard sauce or the chocolate pasta and container of low fat Cool
If it's the reason you're not getting to that thing you love-- whether it's writing,
painting, sewing, gardening, baking or whatever-- sign out of your email and
close Facebook. While you're at it, stop going back to read every Facebook
post you missed since you shut down the last time. Your friends know you love
them, and if it's that important, they can actually CALL you. Sitting with your
thumbs glued to your cell phone while it dings out a new text message every
thirty seconds is taking you farther away from the things you want, not getting
Technology has created a flipside to productivity, not only for bosses and
companies worldwide, but for people's personal lives. Do you really need a ten-
second litany of the movements of the 65 people you're following on Twitter? Or
can you exist without the knowledge that they just put cream in their coffee or
tried on a pair of green socks? Everything in time is a trade. Think about what
you're feeding to the hunger that Social Media has become.
In trade for cutting 6 hours of email in a week (less than an hour a day), could
you read that book you bought three months ago?
For 8 hours of weekend Facebook trolling, could you take that jewelry class
advertised on the Community Board at the library?
The dogs will still love you if you feed them late, and could you use that hour
each evening, or even three or four evenings over the course of a week (in
which you do NOT open email or Facebook) to write the first draft of the story
that's been chewing on the inside of your brain for three months?
Or plant those window garden herbs?
Or detail your motorcycle and make it shine like new?
Or [insert here that fun and wonderful thing you've been wanting to do for the
last four to twelve weeks but keep putting off-- key word: FUN].
You know what? This might sound like a rant (okay, so it really is), but I
actually had fun doing it. The kicker is that it's borderline late. I've known I had
to do it for several months but I've been putting it off in favor of all those
hellishly mundane things I talked about above. Have I been stressed? Yes, but
the stress hasn't been just about those mundane things. It was knowing this
blog was due and I hadn't done it. Had I bumped it up in priority I would've
helped myself all the way around. The deadline would've disappeared plus I
would've had my dose of fun a lot earlier, not to mention a release of the writing
steam building up inside me.
I think I need to procrastinate more.
Yvonne is a fairly prolific writer who has penned novels in the Buffyverse (!) as well as her own books. Haven't read her latest, HIGHBORN yet? Check it out! This book is an intense ride with angels and demons in a way that I've never seen before. Come back to Read My Mind tomorrow to see my review.
Staying alive long enough to earn a shot at Heaven will mean breaking some major rules in the mortal world, as she learns just how complicated and wonderful being human can be. With so much stacked against her, even Brynna has to wonder if she’s crazy. But she’s not giving in without a fight.
Not a chance in Hell. . . .