Procrastination and Writer’s Block

This photo doesn't have anything to do with this post, but it does make it look pretty.
This photo doesn't have anything to do with this post, but it does make it look pretty.

I came home from work tonight with one goal in mind – sit down and write a blog post. Not too complicated, right? And yet, since I opened the door at 8:30 I have:

  • eaten dinner (spicy tuna rolls from the supermarket),
  • read some of my current book (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks),
  • caught up on my Twitter feed,
  • poked around on Facebook,
  • answered an email,
  • played Words with Friends,
  • re-checked Facebook and Twitter,
  • looked at the photo library on my phone,
  • took a spin around my Tumblr dashboard, and
  • perused a couple of random articles found via Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

What I did not do when I got home from work:

  • Write this blog post.*

This, I think, tells you everything you need to know about where I am with writing these days: all procrastination, no discipline. I’ve got scraps of ideas all over the place, but nothing put together in a way that makes sense. And if you’re a writer by nature, letting all those scraps build up eventually leads to the big ol’ dam known as writer’s block. (Yes, really, ideas are to writers as sticks are to beavers. Who knew?)

I hit the writer’s block wall bigtime at the office today. All I needed to do was bang out a round-up about Hurricane Irene – essentially gluing together a collection of links I’d found into some sort of coherent post. It needed to be 500 words at most and should have taken an hour, or maybe two if I wanted to wordsmith the hell out of it. Instead, it took all afternoon and into the evening. I was blocked up, and badly.

That’s a big part of why I am forcing myself to post here tonight – I’m trying to write my way out of the block. And while I know a process post will never pass for the most scintillating thing I’ve ever put on this blog,  I’ve strung together words on a virtual page, and it helps. In fact,  each bit helps enough that I’m planning to give the posting every day thing a try again, in order to build a little discipline around my writing. This may mean a much higher than usual crap-to-gold ratio (or not, if you see there having been very little gold to this point) but you can, as ever, feel free to wander off if I’m boring you. I promise I’ll try not to, though.

***

* Technically, there are many other things I haven’t done tonight, like watched regular tv or pulled up Netflix on my Wii. (I have only recently succumbed to Netflix, yet already know to be the single greatest time suck currently available. I’ve already lost an entire weekend to Sports Night. But that’s a story for another time.) I also haven’t even opened the pint of New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream I bought, which I think is pretty damned impressive.

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4 thoughts on “Procrastination and Writer’s Block

  1. Common Loon September 2, 2011 / 7:44 am

    I typically have one goal most days: to clean our house. And most days, I fail miserably. There is no nice-sounding name for my problem (slob? unorganized? pit-dweller?). With company arriving this afternoon and the back-to-school countdown on, I need to force some success, too! It’s somewhat encouraging to know that sometimes, everyone struggles a bit with their work. I’ve chosen your crap-to-gold analogy (love it) as today’s inspiration.

  2. Priya C. September 2, 2011 / 10:58 am

    Writer’s block (ugh). But two things: Sports Night (Yay! I did that a few months ago when I realized it was on there.) And I hope you like The Immortal Life, it was a fascinating read on a variety of levels.

  3. Mom September 2, 2011 / 3:02 pm

    I personally think that ANYTHING one has to do repeatedly (be it writing, changing the baby, household chores, laundry, walking the dog … ) can create a “block” sooner or later. Your article about Irene as well as the above prove you are getting past it. — Likewise, Loon, you do not live in a PIT!!! Good grief, ladies, you are B U S Y !!

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