I am hanging on to my temper right now. Mad as can be and not a darn thing I can do about it. You see I am mad at myself. I haven’t taken the time to sit down and work for a week — instead doing family things, holiday things, everything and anything that would keep me from working. Not that this is bad, but it’s not as productive as I had promised myself I would be this month. There are compensations, my dad’s 80th birthday, my son and daughter both home at one time not once, but twice this week. The annual family gathering at the Galveston family’s home. It’s still hard to forgive myself the time spent celebrating when I should have been chanting, “Pages to go before I sleep.”
I wish I could say that this week was an anomaly. If the truth be told, I am easily distracted from getting my work done. There is always something requiring attention, be it the dog, the laundry, or some other itch I have to scratch. Even my daughter has figured out that working is hard to do. Her blog entry on procrastination shows that she has not learned from my mistakes.
How to cope with that horribly consistent urge to put off doing today what can be put off again tomorrow? Leave. Put on your walking shoes and pack up your tablet and paper or computer and go to whatever place stimulates your work ethic. Mine is the local coffee shop in the morning and the local community college library after noon. Neither one is quiet. Neither one is conducive to a meditative state. Both have the advantage that the only thing I have to do there, the only responsibility that belongs to me, is to write.
Letting go of that responsibility — the dishes in the sink (They’ll still be there when you get back…) the socks unmatched upon the bed (They’ll still be there when you get back…) the dinner you planned for your husband (He’ll still be there when you get back — and may have ordered Chinese takeout when he discovered you weren’t home and haven’t left dinner in the oven…) — is tantamount to saying that what I must do, long to do, but never give myself permission to consider first: write — is important.
That means that tomorrow rather than working outside in my fall garden, saddling up the mare to tool around the pasture, washing clothes or dishes or the bathtub, I will be a good little writer and sit down to write. Of course, even then I will not be totally free to lose myself in my work. While I’m writing, I’m always sure what I’m producing is dreck, and that there is little chance of editing it into usable prose. Picture me sitting in front a typewriter, ripping page after page from the roll as none of the sentences I create fit the scene I am writing. (Of course, I do this on my computer, so it’s a little more earth-friendly. Doesn’t provide the same physical relief of being able to rip up the pages — unless you take the time to print them out first, but imminently more practical.) But even being blessed with a particularly cantankerous internal editor, being a writer, I’m there in the chair with my muse and my will to stick with it. I pound and pound and pound until, eventually, joyously, I lose the urge to trash the words as they come out and I lose my sense of place and time — lose control — and get something accomplished. And it will feel glorious to be back at that wonderful place in my mind once again, hard at work.