Saturday morning I did something I haven't done in a long time. I poured a cup of coffee and went into the living room for a thinking session. There's a special chair in there for meditating or puzzling through a problem. It's a little glider with a green early-American style cushion on seat and back. Rocking, or in this case gliding, seems to help my thinking process, moving it along in a way. The motion is calming, and don't we all think better when we're calm?
What I needed to think about was:
Reading, critiquing, blogging, and tweeting,
Lallygagging, sleeping, writing, and eating,
There's not enough time to do them all,
Who in the flying hell do I call?
For help, I mean. Is there such a thing as procrastination-busters? A group dedicated to breaking the television/movie habit? How about a twelve-step method for beating the "meet me for coffee at Starbucks" or "let's do lunch" addiction?
The same two manuscripts I was talking about three months ago, one that needed "one more good read" and the other that was ready for revisions, haven't been touched.
I've fiddled with my blog, playing with the new Blogger templates. I took two trips. I've spent hours in the garage cutting up old cardboard boxes to conform to our town's new recycling opportunities. I ordered a new storm door and had it replaced. I rewrote my To Do List, which is down to 21 items, although it doesn't have anything on it about daily writing time. I accepted a book to review for The Blood-Red Pencil blog, and I added a new weekly guest blogger series to my own blog.
I'm still working one afternoon a week (for three hours) at the Northern Colorado Writers studio, I taught another self-editing class for NCW, and I attend the group's monthly morning coffee and writing discussion. I'm on the editorial committee for the Senior Center's Mountain Scribe Anthology. And then there's all that really frivolous stuff I do like grocery-shopping, strolling through Farmers' Markets, laundry, and occasional bouts of housecleaning.
What is it about sitting down to write or revise that's so difficult? I see the question pondered over and over by writers, but I still don't know the answer.
What I finally decided as I sipped my coffee and rocked (okay, glided) is that it's okay not to write if I want to do something else instead. The only thing I have to do is stop, think about what I'm doing, make a conscious choice, and then proceed. No stress. No guilt. Just know what I'm doing and why.
I'll write when I choose to write.
So I took a deep breath and let it out. I felt better. Even felt a little bit like cleaning off my desk so I can work with a hard copy of my novel as I read and make revision notes.
But first, I had to meet a writer friend for coffee at Starbucks, buy fresh local strawberries and spinach at the Farmer's Market, set the sun tea jug outside, write a blog post and pre-schedule my guest blogger's post for Thursday, wash those strawberries that had perfumed the whole kitchen, make shortcake and whipped topping, wash the spinach, check my e-mail one more time, and read for an hour before starting dinner.
And so it goes.