…Scarlet O’Hara famously said. I’m with her on that one. I am a procrastinator. There. I said it.
I have to-do lists on my computer that lap and spool into another year. Cleaning. Nothing makes me clean better than shame. Visitors expected and I’ll de-cobweb, wash floors and scrape the mould off the cheddar.
I detest phoning people. It’s almost a phobia now but it’s a sad side effect from old depressions when speaking was impossible. Before I was the sort of girl my friends screened when I called. Had they got a spare three hours to chat? Or not? One close friend once told me that sometimes she would have loved to have called me up for a chat but she just didn’t have enough hours in the day. Well now that’s over. I’ll text, email, send a pigeon, create smoke signals. But I can’t call even my closest friends. I’ll sit by the phone summoning the nerve, sweating from pores I didn’t know I had. Nope. Phone calls are now only for emergencies.
I hate those glib little sayings that people trot out regarding procrastination, with a knowing glint in their eyes. ‘Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.’ ‘Someday is not a day of the week’. ‘You may delay but time will not’. Arghhhh!
Doctors appointments, opening bank statements, those little jobs around the house. Scrubbing behind the taps with a toothbrush, dusting the dog, emptying the car of broken cd cases.
But the biggest one of all is putting off writing. Whether it is a short story or a longer piece. First draft or a bit of last minute tweaking and suddenly almost anything is more attractive. Lining up my mugs in order of sets or colour, dividing my books between read, unread and not bloody likely. Looking for stale food in my youngest son’s room (I recruit the dog as assistant for this chore). Finding old photos to put on facebook. Staring at a favourite blade of grass in the garden for hours. I’ll do the hand washing before said articles spawn new varieties of mushroom.
Drinking coffee to help me think, going through the marketing crap from supermarkets, pulling hairs from my legs individually using tweezers whose ends don’t quite meet. I can write the blog okay as its mainly rants and moans which come naturally to us poms.
I don’t know why I do it but I’m among the great and the good on this one. Mark Twain, Erica Jong, Oscar Wilde. I suppose I shouldn’t really have my email and facebook account minimised in the background. I’m five minutes away from a distraction at any time. Marvelous. Important stuff like what a woman I once met in a crowded shop had for breakfast that day. An email from another rugby mum asking if I’d inadvertently gone home with her child’s sock/mouth guard/snotty handkerchief. And there’s always those simply hilarious clips of children/animals/over-stressed mothers.
The thing is when I get down to it there is no better place for me to be than putting words on a blank page. It keeps the demons away and makes my heart soar. So, why do I do it? Why do I put off turning a not-quite-finished story into something that makes me smile way beyond my daily coffee. Starting a story is like being pregnant and finishing it is similar (well almost) to falling in love with your child. But without the leaky breasts and nappies of the brown variety. Search me. I’m off to peg socks on the Hills Hoist in size and colour order. You think I’m joking?