Procrastination: The Writer’s True Profession

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.” S. King, Different Seasons

You may have noticed that today is Wednesday and that my posts usually come out on Tuesday. You are very observant. That is true. The problem is that I have been experiencing some road blocks to my word count and I’ve been avoiding telling you because then, I don’t have to admit it to myself. But, if I’m going to be honest, the going is HARD right now. I won’t call it writer’s block because I have a ton of scenarios and conversations buzzing around inside my head, I just can’t get them into any cohesive being. On top of that, I have a lot of emotions running wild because I’d left things sit for too long and am just now attempting to deal with them. In the long run, this overabundance of information and detail and character is better, because I will have more to pull from, but right now, in the thick of it and with everything else going on, I am overwhelmed. So what do I do? That’s right, you smarty pants, I procrastinate.

You might be thinking (I can tell you’re a thinker) “What’s the big deal? Why the struggle? Why not just write down all the things and go from there?” And in a way, you’re right. I do need to get it all down, even if it’s jumbled, just so I have it. But there is something about writing that is so much more than “just writing.” I know that sounds really weird but there is a part of me that goes into each line, each phrase, each paragraph. And I’m overwhelmed. Which means the writing is overwhelmed; hence the abundance of information that just won’t jive together. My sentences are stilted and hesitating as I try to say just enough to express a feeling without giving away the motivation. There isn’t that flow that comes when your mind and heart are working together. It’s just words on a page, and that isn’t ever what I want.

So I have to convince myself to keep going, to keep writing, to continue through the brainstorm even though the new idea just negated the three days of outlining I’ve already done, to let the characters bumble around and try out their new disguises until everyone is comfortable and ready to go on. Because fiction is truth. It’s truer than most anything in the world and it has the power to change how we see ourselves. That is why I face the days of just getting the words on the page, that’s why I keep going when I want to give up, that’s why I tell you what is really going on. So I can craft a truth that resonates with us, separately but together.