By which I mean that last week’s Shakespearean glow has faded, and I’m getting nowhere much, both work-wise and writing wise, and I’ve managed to destroy a memory stick with lots of useful things on it, and I’m squandering inordinate amounts of time on notions that might become relevant next Autumn – or then again might not at all – and even rehearsals last night rather meandered into pointlessness…
A stupid week, see? I’d chalk it up to February blues, buy myself a book or two, and sit by while it all goes away – except for one small detail: when I’m like this my natural tendency to procrastination swells past control.
And I’m not talking about checking the mail every second minute or planning to write 2000 words after loading the dishwasher. And feeding the cat. And running that little errand. And and and… That’s nothing. To me procrastination grows really dangerous when it manages to acquire that oh-so-reassuring sheen of usefulness… Let me give you an example – or ten.
- Staring at the to-do-list like the proverbial deer in the headlights. Because I know very well that this editing is due on Friday, and meanwhile I have to prepare that talk, and send out that proposal, and finish that book for the review due next week… Look, isn’t it fascinating that the story is due on Friday, and the talk, and the proposal, and the review…?
- Some more research. Just a tiny bit more. One hour and a half ago I could easily have placed an asterisk and a note to remind myself to check up the author of Soliman and Perseda, and write on. Instead, I’m sitting on the carpet, surrounded by piles of books, and I have so many tags and pages open that my browser is groaning in pain. I may or may not have found the author of Soliman and Perseda, but perhaps it was not all that important, because right now I’m looking up house and land prices in 1588 London…
- Making oh-so-detailed plans to climb out of the rut. If I wrote 1200 words per day, and revised ten pages, and read one more hour before bed… Then again there is the conference the week after the next, and I’m starting those talks in three weeks – so it will be better to reduce that to 1000 words per day – and 800 on Tuesdays… Unless on Tuesdays I devote the additional hour to writing, and read instead during lunch… Oh, and how can it be nearly 7, and I haven’t written a single word?
- Editing while writing. No, make that editing while writing… What was that hired man’s again, in Chapter 2? Oh look, the rehearsals scene is a little similar to the one in Chapter 8 – can I change it? Which should I change? What if i moved the stuff with the clowns… Oh, looks, I’ve written crowns. Then again, this whole line – no, this whole paragraph… Really: do I need this scene here? What if I told it from a different point of view… And somehow, mysteriously, I haven’t written a single new word. And oh – the article is waiting.
- Printing on recycled paper. My own paper – so that, instead of working, I reread old project printed on the other side.
- Reading about procrastination – like Debbie Ohi’s Mimi in Will Write for Chocolate, who treats herself to a lazy day as a reward for deciding to seriously tackle her procrastinations issues… tomorrow.
- Whining about procrastinating. In person, via mail, on the phone – to people who are either innocent and anxious to get on with their stuff, or unduly procrastinating in turn.
- Running away with other unrelated ideas. Because you never know when they could come in handy, or else they are just really shiny – so it’s better to take notes. Copious notes. Just so they won’t get lost – and, before you know, you’ve been planning a whole new play, all four acts of it, and jotting down four pages of research bibliography.
- Seeking visual inspiration. Google Images. Pinterest… need I say more?
- Writing long and detailed posts about the art of procrastinating…
See why I need to put an end to this week’s general stupidity? Do you think that a new book would help?