Friday, June 20, 2008

Where Did the Week Go?: A Procrastination Journal

So it's Friday and I'm staring at my computer once again, wondering why I haven't even written one paragraph in Chap. 16 since last week. I have to get moving; I need to finish it for my lovely critique group to review on July 9, and I'm going to be away at TKD Nationals from June 30 to July 5. I should have been inspired after the writers' conference I attended this past weekend; so why am I stuck? In the same way that dieters keep a food journal to keep track of what they're actually eating, I thought I would detail what I did this week to see what I'm actually doing. Warning: this is not for the faint of heart. (Or easily ashamed—Oh, that would be me. Here goes anyway.)

7:00 am—Why am I up at 7 am? I could sleep in for another hour. Give up, do morning routine of shower, tea, breakfast, etc.
8:30—Take Boy to marching band practice.
9:00—I have been inspired by conference, but not to write, only to send in a picture book manuscript to one of the editors who attended. Spend morning tweaking cover letter, hoping that arrival of manuscript one week after conference signals "professional, organized writer" and not "delusional, overeager wannabe."
1:00—We still have houseguests; take them around town (including stop at post office to mail manuscript, yay!) and have nice chat.
3:00—Return to computer, open up Chap. 16, then give up (mailing manuscript counts as "real work"), and play solitaire. Help prepare dinner.
7:00—Attend mandatory meeting for Marching Band parents. Get free cookies and sign up for more ways to procrastinate volunteer events.

7:30 am—Seriously, why can't I sleep in until 8? Morning routine.
8:30—Take Boy to practice.
9:00—Finally finish reading Moby Dick. Yay!
9:30—Realize I neglected the blog yesterday. My mom will complain. Add Photo of the Week Entry and Review of Moby Dick. Celebrate with a couple of solitaire games.
11:30—I promised our British houseguest a shopping trip. Take her to the big mall I never go to because it's so big. (Sigh. It's a rough job, but someone has to do it.)
3:30—Return. Smile at new pair of sandals. Start load of laundry. Open Chap. 16. Look at it, find Solitaire game while I try to remember what happens next. Give up; fetch the mail; make dinner plans.

7:00 am—Something is wrong with my internal clock. Damn summer solstice. Morning routine ensues.
8:30—Take Boy to practice.
9:00—Take guests to airport.
10:00—Return home, check e-mail, look at blog to see if anyone's commented on my exciting prose. See "0 Comments"; look at Jacqui's blog for new entries. Add comment that's much more amusing than anything I write here. And at least someone else will read it.
11:00—Go to doctor for clicky knee; learn braces won't help and surgery doesn't work; given prescription to build muscles around joint and use ice and Advil. Pretty much what I already knew, except for the bit about the brace.
12:30—Since doctor's office is near the animal shelter, go do my weekly volunteer work as a Cat Comforter. There are 10 cages of kittens needing attention, plus an Abyssinian was just brought in as a stray so I have to check her out.
3:00—Do two more loads of laundry. Open up Chap. 16 again, review what little I've already written, then add a sentence or two. Play a game or two of solitaire, review new sentences, delete as unsuitable.
5:30—Realize I've forgotten to review this week's critique group submission. Start reading and making notes furiously.
7:30—Meet critique group. Stuff my face with tasty Whole Foods treats Talk about silly stuff and complain Make thoughtful, incisive comments about my fellow writers' work.

7:30 am—Morning routine.
8:30—Drop Boy off.
9:00—Do grocery shopping.
10:30—Realize I've forgotten to do my knee exercises. Learn that they take almost an hour to complete.
11:30—Realize I haven't done any real training since last week. Go for 6-mile bike ride, making stops at bank and library to run errands. Return Moby Dick and pick up House of the Seven Gables. Rejoice that Hawthorne's classic has only 300 pages, with probably no mention of whale heads in any of them.
12:30—Lunch, which includes tasty side dish of Advil and ice for my knee.
1:00—Open up Chap. 16. Get interrupted by Gigi; write post about mewing silly kitty.
2:30—Look at Chap 16 again. Wonder what editor I sent previous novel to is up to; check her blog. Check links to blogs of other agents/editors. Snicker at how they make fun of people who ask silly questions. Realize I shouldn't be snickering until I actually sell novel.
4:30—Go back to Chap. 16 again. Feel guilty that I haven't written anything all week; then feel stupid for feeling guilty when no one will probably ever publish it anyway. Turn off computer in frustration.
5:30—Boy forgot to pick up stuff from Band. Run out to pick it up. Make dinner.

8:00 am—Finally! I sleep in until 8! Unfortunately, I could have slept later, as marching band practice isn't until noon today. Morning routine.
9:00—Do knee exercises while catching up on six-month-old TIVO recording.
10:00—Oh, dear, I've neglected the accounts, too. Spend morning paying bills and balancing checkbook.
11:30—Take Boy to practice. Run a couple of errands. Eat lunch.
1:00—Detail sad history of procrastination on blog.

So instead of writing, I've sent a manuscript to an editor; done three loads of laundry; maintained the family finances; gone to the doctor; socialized over two dozen kittens; made four shopping trips; written four blog entries; finished reading a classic American novel I should have read in college; made half a dozen trips as chauffeur; looked up how to spell "chauffeur"; worked on building up my knee and my stamina; and played a few dozen games of solitaire.

Oh well, I still have the rest of the afternoon, write?


  1. Oh. Sigh. This is too familiar...

  2. So since I graduate college in December, I should read Moby Dick now, so I don't have to do so later in life? :-)