An old friend dropped by today. Maybe you’ve heard of him- his name is Procrastination. He shuffled into my house like the old man in the supermarket who slowly weaves in front of you down the dairy aisle, keeping you from reaching the meeting you have been dreading. He’s a frustrating old codger- you want to shout at him to move out of your way- while secretly you’re relieved not to be doing the very important thing you have been dreading. When I woke up this morning, I had every intention of sitting down and writing. I was even given the gift of a kid-free day by my dear friend Estelle. Instead, I procrastinated by folding laundry, washing the floor and cleaning my kitchen. I’m a dab hand at procrastinating- I’ve had forty years of practice, after all. I find that it is easier than ever to procrastinate because in a lot of ways it feels as if I’m moonlighting as a writer. My real (unpaid) job is that of a stay-at-home mum and it comes with lots to do, all the time. While I have been longing to write and stretch myself in new directions, I have to admit it is a lot easier to check things off my mum to-do list than to sit down and work on my novel. My life has a way of getting in the way of my writing- and by life I mean dirty floors, messy kitchens and endless car rides to various extra-curriculars for my kids. By the time I find myself clocking out of my day job I am too tired to even contemplate sitting down to write, but what other choice do I have?
In my reading for this new role of “writer”(those who know me know I must consult the experts), I came across a great book by Anne Lamott called “Bird by Bird”. It is filled with great advice for beginning writers and in it she suggests setting a goal of three hundred words a day. She says you have to train yourself- sit down at the same time everyday and get it done. Most days, even sitting down is complicated enough for me- but I need to show Procrastination to the door and get writing. No excuses. I have to do my best to overlook my shortcomings and work harder at being my own cheerleader. Am I at three hundred words yet?