The thing is, I'm not usually a procrastinator. Sure, I look at that stack of laundry-to-be-folded and walk the other way; sure, my inbox looks like the beginnings of a very big, luscious bonfire, and sure, my kids aren't the only ones who have a hard time getting going in the morning, but when it comes to writing, I'm usually right ready when I have the writing time.
I always recommend scheduling the time--I write it in my Franklin Day Planner, to which I've become addicted since my working-in-an-office days. I am willing to sit in the quiet, thinking, giving myself permission to write notes before getting to the scene at hand, but today is different. All week I've used my sudden embarrassment of time to write. The kids are back at school; I have notes and plans and small scraps of paper with phrases that will start the important truths of this newest novel, and I've been using them. Until today.
Today, I want to go for a walk. Today, I miss our dog, who died last year. Today, my knitting looks ridiculously compelling, as if I could pick it up and finish my mother's birthday present, the huge sweater I'm making in bulky gold wool, the holiday gifts I feel compelled to begin ahead of time. I envy my friends who procrastinate by cleaning out closets, and THINK about cleaning out closets, but I'm just not getting to the writing.
I believe I know where I'm stuck: I suddenly have time, and intention, and prompt. I have clues about what I want to write, and there's a part of me that just doesn't want to write it. There's some bits of plot at the core I've been trying to write for years. They're painful, even if the story is ultimately a hopeful one. I have to get through the painful bits. I have to write them. So instead, I'm writing a blog post. But hopefully, it'll help anyone else who is procrastinating today.
Here's one self-imposed assignment I dig out whenever I hit this rare mood. Maybe it'll help you if you're stuck at the beginning, like I am. Maybe it'll help you if you're stuck in the middle, stuck near the end. Maybe it'll help if you haven't even started.
So here's your topic ...
Make a list: Things I Never Want to Write About
Give it a good 15 minutes, but probably the first few are the most important. They probably have to do with loss, and with love, and with fear, the biggies.
Then make another list: Things I Need to Write About
Take only 10 on this one. Then take a look at your lists. Is there any overlap? I will use mine to give myself writing prompts for this new novel for next week and beyond.
Even if the things I never want to write about are wretched, there's probably something good in there, and maybe I'll be able to exhaust them and move on to those I need. Or those I want. For now, another cup of coffee, and the lists themselves. Any writing counts.