Monday, April 4, 2011

Taxation and Procrastination

I’ve been spinning a lot of plates the last few weeks – getting very little writing done. And I have the circus-act Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to prove it. What’s this you say? “Writers write!” Yes, I’ve heard that before. I’m still holding a grudge against the first person who told me I had to write every day to really be a writer. Actually, it’s more like I’m waiting in his bushes with a bag full of oranges – figuratively speaking, of course.

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.


  1. Haha! Your muse must meet my muse someday. They can take turns feeding each other grapes. (p.s. Do you any need help with hurling those oranges? I've got a good throwing arm. :D)

  2. I just might take you up on that, Sam! :D Growing up, I used to hear you could beat someone up with a bag full of oranges and it wouldn't leave a bruise. (I've yet to try it -- despite temptation.) Let me know when your muse is free for a play date! ;)

  3. Your muse sounds pretty cool. I love the part about the navel oranges (Oddly, there's a bag of them in the back of my car right now-- forgot to take them out after shopping.)

    Thanks for the reminder, too. Got to get those taxes done!

  4. Hi there! Some writers insist on writing everyday, some write when they feel inspired... I say do whatever feels right for the kind of writer you are! And mind those wrists...

  5. Hi there! I somehow I can't write when I am thinking of my tax return...creativity strike! So I totally understand. Writing is, I believe, like exercising. Some days, you have to give yourself a break!

  6. Perri - My muse definitely has her moments! :) And I'm glad you're prepared with your own bag of navels. Here's hoping we both get our taxes done -- sooner than later! ;)

    Isabelle - Hi! I try to do both -- write when I feel inspired and when I don't. (It's good for discipline.) But, forcing it usually produces work which requires much bigger rewrites. My wrists are thanking me now! ;D

    Muriel - Hi to you, too! :) I completely understand. I can't really get inspired until my other obligations have been met. And breaks are like spa visits for my muse! She comes back refreshed, with glowing skin -- and almost civil. ;)


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