It’s a dark, rainy morning — exactly what I’ve been waiting for. After the snowy silence of winter, the sound of rain brings real pleasure. This is perfect writing weather, and that’s what I need to get doing. That looming deadline is inspiring all sorts of stress ailments and avoidance behavior, and I am getting nowhere fast. I kid you not, I have written and re-written the first paragraph of this paper for the last two weeks.
Having established that I am suffering from writer’s block, let’s move on to avoidance behavior, which, though it does little to alleviate stress, is much more fun. If I have any well-developed talent, it is an ability to convince myself that what I want to do needs to be done RIGHT NOW, and what I should be doing can wait. Here are my favorite ways to fool myself.
1. I do easy tasks that could wait (email, grade quizzes, type up notes…), but tell myself that it’s still work, so it counts.
2. I clean a room or do laundry. That counts, too, because of course we need to have clean houses and clothes to wear. Cooking also counts.
3. I do ‘research’ on the internet (e.g., genealogy or antique hunting), read, listen to music, or look at art — the search for inspiration takes time! Contemplating interesting paintings should help:
4. I take a walk or do some Tai Chi. Here I am striking a pose on Dartmoor on a blustery day in 2018.
5. I attend a meeting, where I can daydream to my heart’s content. Obviously, meetings count as work, and if I do not pay attention, I do not get annoyed, so it’s a win-win situation.
Yet, as I diligently avoid working on some project, it is ticking along in the back of my brain. Sometimes in order to make progress on one thing, you have to do something else. At least that is what I tell myself.
Undoubtedly, Bill Watterson’s view is more accurate:
I’m experiencing a sense of déjà vu here, which probably means that I’ve posted about all this before. Oh, well, at least illustrations are new.
Time to get back to that introductory paragraph. Maybe today is the day I’ll be able to move to the next one.