Well, Labor Day is here again, the unofficial end to the summer. The season will officially end fifteen days from this posting, with the Fall equinox. A chill is starting to creep into the air (at least in the Northeast). It may be in a format that’s completely unfamiliar to all of us, but kids and adults alike are preparing to go back to school. And a familiar back-to-school feeling is beginning to set in, curling around my heart like a serpent.
That sickening dread that I’ve forgotten to do my homework.
(Yes, this is another one of those procrastination blog posts wherein I write about how difficult it is to write what I’m trying to write, which is not the blog post I’m actually writing. It’s kind of my thing.)
I had everything all planned out. There’s a piece I want to write for an ongoing playwriting competition, whose next deadline is November 18. I planned to research over the summer, and draft in September and October. September is here, and I have the notebook ready to go for brainstorming exercises and plot outlining. I just can’t for the life of me actually do any of that. It feels like a lead weight is pressing on my chest, and I can’t even move to pick up the damn notebook.
It’s possible I don’t feel adequately prepared yet. Thanks to the ongoing crisis of our nation’s Postal Service (which may have been knocked out of the public consciousness by a dozen or so new scandals, but is still very much an issue), there’s still a few books I’ve ordered that haven’t made their way to me yet. But there isn’t really a point in waiting for them. I can find time to read them whenever they do arrive; more importantly, I’ve reached what I know from experience is the end of the research process. Not that I know everything about the subject(s) I’ll be tackling – far from it. There’s no such thing. But I’ve reached the point where I keep reading the same facts in slightly different wordings, the point where I’ve realized that the things I don’t know are things I won’t be able to learn from books.
So, time to start writing. Especially since the start of the school year means things will become more frantic at my day job, Especially since the next season (the 30th anniversary season!) of Tuesdays at Nine starts next week, and once I’m co-hosting that again my free time will dwindle down to almost nothing. If I want to get any writing done, I need to start writing now.
By which I mean something other than this blog post, which I’m clearly not doing.
They say that procrastination ultimately stems from a fear of failure. That the dread of having something turn out poorly, of the beautiful shining thing in your head manifest as something broken and misshapen, prevents you from starting to shape that thing in the first place. That’s true as far as it goes; I’d argue that this feeling is exacerbated by our awareness of the time involved. We know how long of a time commitment it is to create whatever we’re trying to create; the older we get the more conscious we are of how little time we really have. So we find ourselves doing some advanced calculations whenever we sit down at our laptops or easels or what have you, wondering if we’re really going to come up with something that’s worth the investment of time. And the longer we wonder, the longer we delay, the smaller that available amount of time becomes, creating that familiar, sickening snowball effect.
Of course, I am writing this blog on the Saturday before I post, so hopefully I’ve gotten some work done in the interim. It’s a three day weekend after all.