Yesterday, I bought a big, blank desk calendar, the kind that you used to get for free from the guy you supplied your typewriter ribbons. I bought a new packet of lined 3 x 5 cards and some binder clips. I packed it, along with my multi-colored extra fine point Sharpies, my multi-colored Post-Its, my #10 plain envelopes and my laptop, into the Starbucks with the big tables, intent on making plans and getting shit done.
I am a person who needs a project. I need to be working on something, toward something, firm in purpose, at all times. When I’m not, I flounder. When I have lots of things going at once, if I’m not organized, I quickly reach analysis paralysis and stop thinking at all. I surf the web. I spend a lot of time looking at 31 Dogs Who Forgot How To Dog. And before I know it, the day is gone, The Rachel Maddow Show is on and it is time to make a cup of tea and go to bed.
The calendar was to be my central planning tool in my bid to dominate the world of book writing and publishing. I’m working on a book, have I mentioned that? I am, an account of the cancer and what it did and did not do to me. Anyway, I am supposed to be working on the book but since November ended, not so much. I’ve floundered, directionless.
Armed with my large, extra-hot latte and color-coded goals, I set out to create an exhaustive list of writing workshops and conferences. I combed the internet and filled 3 x 5 cards with notes on deadlines and scholarships. I put all of this information on the calendar. I worked backwards, setting goals for submissions and applications.
When I completed all of those notations and refilled my coffee, I decided to plot and plan more writing. I hunted down information on local writing groups, one-day workshops, it all went on the calendar. I plotted time for brainstorming. I plotted time for writing here. I plotted and planned word counts. I felt very good about my calendar. I gathered up all my cards and notes and went home, secure in the knowledge I finally had a handle on this productivity thing and ready to hit the ground running the next morning.
I woke up this morning with a cold – sinus headache, sore throat, watery eyes – everything. My body aches. My mouth tastes like snot. In a word, I am pitiful. There is nothing on my calendar about time off for being pitiful. But, here I am, gloriously, completely and utterly at the mercy of the microbes currently attacking my suppressed immune system.
Instead of writing, I gathered up enough strength to manage a long soak in the tub with bubbles and Epsom salt, followed by a cup of chamomile tea. Because God has not abandoned me entirely, my long-awaited first volume of W. B. Yeats’ collected letters arrived today. Instead of writing, I am swaddled in flannel pajamas and Vick’s Vapo-Rub, breathing noisily and slurping my tea. Instead of writing, I’m going to read.
I’m going to read. I’ll take breaks to moan from time to time. Seek solace from the dog. World domination will have to wait until tomorrow.
February 6, 2014 at 5:17 pm
Love it! Have just retired to enter the life as a full-time writer with several books in my and find that I can find ever so many things to do except write! Tonight, I am tackling the Paper Monster who is threatening to take up residence in my newly set up home office. Tomorrow, a clear desk will indeed await me and will work again on establishing a regular time to write, no matter what else calls.
My best to you.
February 6, 2014 at 7:18 pm
Ever forward. The word count waits for no one.
February 7, 2014 at 6:08 pm
Lord how familiar this all sounds… I procrastinate, avoid, busy myself elsewhere, then finally knuckle down and BOOM the unexpected knocks on my door and out go my plans. Here’s to taking the rest you need to feel better, then starting on that calendar wherever you happen to be. Hope you feel better soon…
February 7, 2014 at 7:58 pm
Yes! All the time. Story of my life.
February 18, 2016 at 1:01 pm
Wonderful site. Lots of helpful info here. I am sending it to several buddies ans also sharing in delicious.
And certainly, thank you for your effort!