After being reprimanded for my lack of dedication – with the backs of my hands still stinging from their unprovoked attack – I promptly told the writer that I write whenever I can, whenever I’m inspired. (That didn’t go over well.) I informed him the frequency with which I wrote had nothing to do with my being an artist or not. Sitting at a desk and forcing myself to crank out work I wouldn’t be pleased with later because I wasn’t “in the zone” seemed counterproductive. (Hmm… Sound reasonable?)
Now, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I have to encourage my muse just by having my fingers poised over the keyboard – letting her know I’m willing to do her bidding. Lavishing her with praise might get me a page or two. Feeding her grapes? Depends on if I remembered to get her the seedless. (Yikes. No points for the spitting bowl?) My muse is a generous, but occasionally cruel mistress. (For example, she keeps moving the aforementioned zone.)
Starting my taxes this weekend made me think of all the weeks (or months or years) I can put off the things I need to do. One day, I plan to hire someone to do them all – except maybe the writing. I’ll invest in some wrist braces – strong enough for me to spin a plate or two… or six or seven. Until then, I have to punch procrastination in the face every once in a while – which is dangerous because writers are just like surgeons, right? Our hands save lives! I can’t risk damaging these digits. And don’t bother pointing to the Voice Recorder app on my phone or the Text to Speech software on my computer. Should a neurosurgeon record his/her performance?! (I’m so glad I found the right analogy.)
Uncle Sam doesn't usually give breaks with due dates. All right, three extra days this year – April 18th – to his credit. I’m excited. But, I’ve never been one of those people who waits in line at the post office on the very last day. (Although, watching them on the news is kind of fun. I’ll have to set my DVR.)
When it comes to writing, more often than not, I set my own deadlines. It’s easy to procrastinate when those dates can be shifted. (What? I just started watching Justified. I have to catch up on the episodes I’ve missed!) But, unless my schedule gets really busy in other areas, I honor my deadlines. Uncle Sam might give a few extra days here and there. My muse keeps her manicure short. She’s not a writer or a surgeon. And she always keeps a bag of navels in the car.