Have I stumbled onto the cure for procrastination?
I’m antsy, sitting here thinking of all the things I would rather do than revising this novel.
1. I would like to go to the movies. An outing! But: It’s a 40 minute drive to the nearest movie theater and my husband’s standards are way higher than mine. He doesn’t want to see what’s playing and I don’t want to go alone—that would be way too self-indulgent.
2. I could go for an x-c ski. Though the wind chill has to be at least -5, there’s a bare covering of snow.
3. I could make a carrot cake! We have carrots raisins and cream cheese. No. No. No.
4. I could catch up on filing. Oh Please. That’s like your mother suggesting you clean your room when you’re bored.
5. I could make a cover for the leather couch that is beginning to show claw marks from cats springing and having to grab hold or slide off. It would be Progress. Besides, that polar fleece I ordered just came in, and it would be a cinch to do. Marshall would be very happy. Family Happiness is important.
6. I could research Flash fiction venues. Also Progress. But I dread it. There’s the fun of writing and then there’s getting ready for the blind date of submission. Progress, I guess, but nerve wracking. Didn’t Eleanor Roosevelt say that you should do something you’re afraid of every day? Yeah, but….
7. I could file my nails. They’re a mess. How am I supposed to concentrate with nails like these?
8. I could get wood for the stove. This would definitely be Progress, plus a little exercise.
9. Speaking of which, I could do my exercises a workout with Dr. Oz and two women who’ve lost tons of weight doing hundreds of pushups, smiling all the while.
10. I could work on Flash fiction. Somehow those revisions are more fun than the novel’s. Why is that? Because they’re 500-1000 words. I write when I get an idea, going from one piece to another. I don’t push.
11. I could read The Signature of All Things. I started the first page and it’s wonderful. It’s due in only two weeks. I did promise myself I’d get a lot of reading in this weekend. Other people are waiting for it at the library. It would be very inconsiderate to make them wait by not reading it right away, even though it was supposed to be the reward for revising the novel. But: did Elizabeth Gilbert get her 499 page novel written by goofing off?
12. I could do laundry. Progress, But: see #4.
13. I could start some sprouts—that would be an excellent January project. It’s also healthy, though not immediately so. Progress, still.
14. I could answer the phone. Oh yippee! But it’s not for me.
P.S. Which I did. Feels good to have done it.
So if you list all the things you’d rather be doing—with every bit of flakey rationale, maybe you can embarrass yourself into doing the task you’ve been avoiding.