I feel like I should go on Dr. Phil or something. Of course, according to the Puddinette (who’s much more familiar with the good doctor than I am), he’ll probably just use that drawl of his to drop some wisdom via cute, folksy adage. And whatever the lesson is, I won’t want to admit it to myself, but I’ll already know it’s true deep down—you know, in that dark, cob-webby place where your cockles live among embarrassing personal facts, e.g., that you still remember every stupid song from Grease 2, word for word.
Anyway, uh, hi! My name is Puddin, and this is yet another installment in my ongoing series: Puddin Procrastinates Prolifically.
So what have I done, or more to the point, am I not doing?
I mean, I am writing. Yesterday was evidence that I’ve been writing plenty lately. But I’ve yet to write a single word on 2012’s Project A, the non-fiction book.
That’s not to say I haven’t done any work on it. And yes, some preliminary groundwork was definitely necessary before the bulk of actually laying down words could begin. But that’s all done now, or at least done enough. There’s no reason not to start clack-clack-clacking away.
Which is exactly what I was planning to do Tuesday night. But then, oh, HEY, LOOK! Tuesday night is totally the best possible time to move Puddintopia to a new web host and deal with all the subsequent internet-based complications. Yeah, sure, that could eat up two or three days worth of productivity, but priorities, man, priorities! Why, yes, that’s the perfect thing to do while Non-Fiction Book A sits there, looking at me sadly like a one-eyed dog from those Sarah McLachlan commercials.
Procrastination, though, isn’t honestly a real thing and doesn’t appear out of no where. Procrastination is a hazy, shapeless cloud that rolls in and covers whatever you’re otherwise supposed to be dealing with. It stems from one of two things: laziness or an unresolved problem.
I’m pretty familiar with the laziness part; when I was a younger fella, my mother used to threaten my life almost daily because I’d put off emptying the dishwasher until the last possible moment in the day, while dirty dishes stacked up like a hoarder’s empty Lunchable boxes. But I wasn’t avoiding it because I had overarching “dishwasher” issues, although that would be a sweet problem to roll into a therapist’s office with. No, back then, I was just, well, teen lazy.
I haven’t been a teen, though, in…uh…carry the one…wow, nearly twenty years. And I will not abide laziness when it comes to writing, period. I stopped being that guy when I wrote this post over two years ago.
So then, why haven’t I started work yet?
Because it’s hard. Starting is hard. Harder than I ever imagined it would be.
Getting rolling on this nonfiction book is nothing like writing the novel, although I doubt I’ll ever start another novel the way I did that one. That book kind of happened by accident. The next one will be intentional.
Regardless, with fiction, you’ve got a beginning, a middle, and an end. You’ve got to start with introductions, no matter how you approach it. You puts some lines on the sketch board and then fill them in with words.
This nonfiction thing, it needs a beginning, a middle, and an end too. But the beginning is a lot more fluid than the beginning of a piece of fiction. And the middle, well, maybe the middle could be the beginning, I guess, depending on how you outlined it. For that matter, does that mean the end is the end or not? Maybe your beginning would be a better end? I don’t know.
Hmm…I’m rambling like a drunken sorority house parakeet here. Let me put it to you this way:
Starting a piece of fiction feels like the equivalent of putting a pot underneath a leaky roof to catch raindrops.
Starting a piece of nonfiction, on the other hand, is like trying to catch a sample of Fido’s, um, water, with a teaspoon while still holding his leash so he doesn’t tear off across the neighborhood after that foxy piece of tail, Prissy the Poodle. And he’s not just taking care of business, either, he’s doing that stop, lift, half-squirt-to-mark-this-as-mine, repeat 15, times kind of thing.
Damn vet can get this own samples next time.
Long story, well, long. I’ve been putting off putting this nonfiction ship to sea for probably two weeks now. And I’ve been doing it because I’m afraid that I don’t know how to start the thing just right.
Which is lame. And ends today.
I may not write a good beginning, my gum, but by Monday, you can bet your teaspoon I’ll have a beginning.
Which is good, because I need to stop writing 800-word posts about nonsense like this one just to avoid working on it.
4 thoughts on “Confessions of a procrastinating writer”
Unintentionally you have become my idol 🙂
Heh! It’s awesome of you to say that. I’m glad someone is getting something useful from my lack of productivity!
I’ve chosen to peruse facebook, read your blog and do various other things rather than the dishes, floors and, oh yeah, editing that needs to be done. I’m not fine with it. I feel terribly guilty. But I, like someone in a weird recovery program, shall forgive myself.
Now I feel guilty about having the gall to forgive myself.
I need to ponder this for a bit….
I understand your guilt. As a fellow procrastinate writer/editor/dishwasher, I would attempt to absolve you of it, but we both know that only time and deep rumination can bring you peace. 😉
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