Some days, like yesterday, I am super productive. I make a decision to write, sit down, hand-write a page or two, and then work on my story. On blog post days, I write my blog and/or just it if I’ve been writing for the duration).
And then there are the other days, like today. Writing can feel like a great adventure, or it can feel like you have to sit down and study for that economics exam you’ve been dreading. (And I dreaded Economics when I took it in business school, especially microeconomics. But that’s a story for another blog post).
Right! Back to writing about not writing. Or The Many Ways in Which I Try to Avoid Writing. This is the work I have chosen to do, and there I am, trying to avoid it like I’m trying to avoid the common cold.
Writing is a recursive vocation. You can write about writing, as numerous authors have done. Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Natalie Goldberg. I am currently reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, another writer on writing, the writing life, and how to be a better writer. Usually, it starts with the advice to sit down. And write.
Below are some of the ways I have strived to not write:
- Tell myself, “I’ll do it later.”
- I have to write long-hand first.
- “Ooh, darn. A hang nail. Let me clip that.”
- Pet my cat Normie.
- Play with Normie.
- Pet my cat Gwenny.
- Play with Gwenny.
- Pet Normie and Gwenny at the same time.
- Ditto playing with the cats.
- Take a picture of Normie. Upload it to Instagram. Check Facebook for comments.
- Ditto with Gwenny.
- Read useless, infuriarating, not-relevant-to-my-work articles on Facebook.
- Ditto Twitter….
- Raw Story…
- Yahoo News…
- and Jezebel.
- Check email frequently.
- Go downstairs to tell my mother some funny thing that Normie did.
- Go downstairs to find my cat Normie because I need to pet him for the Nth time.
- Take a walk.
- Eat a snack.
Eventually, though, I have to sit down and write so that I can tick another day off my writing accountability counter. My blog post makes this possible on Mondays and Thursdays, but I try to do more than just the minimum.
Not only is writing a recursive vocation, it also happens to be the writer’s antidote to procrastination. Once you start writing, it makes you want to do more. On days like today, starting really is the hardest part.