I’ve been meaning to write this post for a week. Really. Then I told myself, “hey, it’s August. Everybody’s on vacation. It’s not like the six people who read my blog are going to actually miss it.”
I put off starting a blog for a long time. I knew once I started I’d have to post regularly. At least that’s what all the experts say. And I knew my habits well enough to understand what that would mean. Without an editor setting a deadline, I expend tremendous amounts of emotional energy just to psych myself into sitting down and writing.
Even with an editor imposing a deadline, my procrastination tendencies often back me into a corner when it comes time to file a story. I love to report, conduct research and interview people. I also love to write. But there is this strange no-man’s land in between those two activities, where my brain acts like a seven-year-old with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Unless I’ve got a brilliant idea for a post, or the results of my reporting have yielded a fantastic story that I just can’t wait to tell, anything and everything becomes a diversion. Suddenly, I must:
– Run out for Starbucks. I don’t even like Starbucks.
– Walk the dog, even though I have to wake him up to do it.
– Bathe the dog. Ditto.
– Check my social networks. Facebook alone is good for killing at least an hour.
– Check how the stock market is doing. As if it makes any difference to my pathetic nest egg.
– Search freelance sites for job opportunities. I can always justify the time spent as “marketing.”
– Call former editors and colleagues. Ditto.
– Research some obscure question on the Internet. Did you know that Mozart’s full baptismal name was Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart?
– Perform routine computer maintenance, including deleting thousands of e-mail messages, running security scans and updating software.
– Make personal appointments. Hair cuts. Dental appointments. Don’t I deserve a massage this week?
My personal favorite: Making lists of what I’m going to do on each of the next few days. This makes me feel tremendously productive.
While these things keep me busy, they don’t divert my brain much. I think a lot about what I’m going to write. I compose the article in my head. I like to say that the entire piece is all completed, all that’s left is the mechanics of getting it down on paper. Hell, Mozart did it. “Everything has been composed, just not written down,” he once told his nagging father.
Problem is, I’m not Mozart. And even if I were, that “writing down” part takes a long time, even with a computer. I’d better get started.
Too bad it’s time for my pedicure . . .