Professionalcrastinator: when you're so good at procrastinating, you should charge for it.
Look at this neat drawing I found today!
Last Monday was my first day back at the desk. And yes, I was at my desk all day. I even came close to opening the document I intended to work in. And then I decided to check out photographs from Tiffany's wedding in Rome. Tootle around Facebook for a few minutes. Watch a video of a cat barking approximately twelve times. (The first two hits were just for me; the subsequent ten viewings were to watch my cat's reaction and then laugh and then hit play again.)
Monday was the throat-clearing day. The running start that ended just at the lip of the cliff from which I meant to leap. A few years ago, days like that made me nearly suicidal with self-loathing. The walls of my house are pocked with scars from those days. Slammed doors, temper tantrums. God forbid someone should call me during one of those fits; that would be enough to convince me that I had to move away to the country, or better yet, leave the country entirely, go someplace where there will be no distractions at all.
These days I find this period disagreeable but necessary; the wasted day typically ends with me writing miserably in my journal and making vows to do better tomorrow. And more often than not, I manage to fulfill that promise within a day or two. On Tuesday I sat down with that worm in my stomach, the worm that turns at the sight of the blank page or my hands at the keyboard. I sat and stared. I didn't know what to do. I knew that the story was now in Europe, and that I wanted to say something about how I arrived in Dublin to find I wasn't as brave as I had hoped I would be. I was actually terrified; nineteen, away from home for the first time, with no real plans other than to not leave Europe for many months. But I didn't know how to frame it. Actually, I didn't really know how to write at all anymore. All that Italian food made me soft and stupid and all I wanted to do was go loll around in a park somewhere and drink prosecco until my every ambition had drained away.
But then I had a thought: what if I just write the shittiest thing I've ever written in my life? I mean, at this point I'm basically writing in order to find out what the story is, so why not start terribly and see if it leads somewhere interesting? So I wrote a sentence that sucked. And then another one. And it was sort of fun, just writing shitty sentences. Freeing. And then I wrote this sentence: The Irish wouldn’t stop touching me.
That one sucked less. It kind of made me laugh a little. So I built on it, and just like that, I was back at work.
Priscilla Long wrote a wonderful book on writing called The Writer's Portable Mentor, which I have found enormously useful in the often-harrowing process of writing my second book. One of the best pieces of advice she offers is to write for fifteen minutes every day, no matter what. I didn't manage that during my European vacation, but when I'm home I use that rule to make sure that a day doesn't go by without my rubbing at least a few words together. This keeps the urge alive, that little spark that wants fuel.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were all great good writing days. Today, however? Today I am such a magnificent procrastinator I am thinking about opening up a consulting business for writers who are too disciplined. I will teach them how to google funny cat videos and clips of girls crying while saying funny things about cats. I will insist that they interrupt their writing sessions to email dear friends about wall sconces and a wonderful new face serum. They will tweet and 'like' many things on Facebook. They will learn of Peter Falk's death and google every obituary out there and then make a list of favorite Columbo episodes to send to their friend Kate but then get distracted halfway through by an overwhelming urge to declare on Facebook that today is Hangover or Food Poisoning day, because I got one of those last night for sure.
So, in short: today I have written for fifteen minutes. I have written this blog post for fifteen minutes, maybe even more minutes than fifteen. And tomorrow, I will be back on the book.
Oh, but what I really wanted to say was this: my goal of finishing the first draft of the book by the time Yoga Bitch hits bookstores August 16th? Ah ha. Hahaha. Ahahahahahahahahahahaha.
Revised goal: Um, I will, uh.
FOOD POISONING OR HANGOVER DAY COMMENCES HERE. ALL WORK MUST HALT AT ONCE AND ALL ASSES MUST FIND THEIR WAY TO COUCHES. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION TO THIS MESSAGE. FAILURE TO COMPLY WILL RESULT IN A STARING CONTEST WITH MICHELLE BACHMANN.