I wasn't too worried about the deadline at first. Seconds after hanging up with my new editor, I sat down at the computer, eager to type out my first column.
I didn’t make it past the first sentence.
I stood up and stared at the first line. It was good. I deserved a sandwich. Soon the sandwich became a soda and the list of things I did before sitting back down at my computer were:
1. Grabbed a can of Diet Coke
2. Decided the Diet Coke needed ice and needed to be in a cup
3. Checked my phone
4. Checked my Facebook
5. Checked Dooce.com
6. Checked nieniedialogues.blogspot.com
7. Checked surisburnbook.tumblr.com
8. Checked my phone
9. Checked hellogiggles.com
10. Checked my bank account
11. Got stressed about my bank account
12. Checked my phone
13. Wrote an email that didn’t need to be written
14. Stared at a blank wall and thought about what I could hang that would be inspirational and make me stop procrastinating
15. Checked my phone
If it were a competition, I would have gotten to the final round and won at least the “Miss Congeniality” of procrastinators award. That would go perfectly next to my “Most Anxious About Getting Pregnant Despite the Fact She Takes Birth Control and Has No Boyfriend” award.
When all my ideas are locked away in my brain they are so happy and safe. It’s like a spa in my brain for ideas: Cucumber water, plush robes, soft lighting. But out on the page they are no longer lying around getting a deep tissue massage. Instead, they're on an exam table, their legs spread open, answering questions about their sexual partners.
That’s what it is. It is so easy to tell someone you have an amazing idea that will, you-don’t-mean-to-brag but probably change the makeup of our culture’s literary fabric. It is a million times harder to give them something to read.
Who was it that said, “The hardest thing about being a writer is writing”? I just looked it up and apparently no one said that.
But in my research I did learn that “penguins closer to the equator eat more fish.”
I think I just proved my own point.
I would rather research pointless facts about penguins than do my work. It has also just occurred to me that if you are reading this you are most likely procrastinating. Sorry. I’m an enabler.
While you're at it maybe you could check out my new website.
And on Friday, May 10th pick up a copy of the Fargo Forum and check out my debut column. You’ll also be able to find it here.
Now, back to doing my work. Right after this video about sloths.