I meant to start reading a new book this weekend, The Dog Stars. Months ago I bought it for Greg because, as much as he prefers non-fiction to fiction, he is developing a liking for post-apocalyptic fiction. He read it and highly recommended it and keeps telling me I should read it next. So, I was planning to start it on Friday.
I posted a status to Twitter saying I was starting the book. I set it to the first page on my Kindle. But for some reason I couldn’t get started. My brain has been jumping around like crazy. Friday night I had almost no attention span and was in a grumpy mood. Saturday I was scattered, restless, and searching for something, who knows what. I couldn’t focus to start reading a book.
Finally, this morning, it occurred to me that these are my tell-tale signs that I’m ready to start writing again. I realized that I’ve been thinking a lot about this story that I started writing in the fall of 2009. I put quite a bit of thought into it and have a pretty good grasp on the basic plot of the story, the characters, and the “world” the story is set in. I wrote a good deal of the beginning — almost 20k words or so. Then, for the following 3+ years, I got distracted by work stuff and never went back to it. Today I finally pulled it out of my desk and looked over what I’ve written so far.
After skimming over what I’d already written and reminding myself where I was in terms of the plot, I scribbled down some thoughts and questions and general to-do reminders about what I need to work on next. Then I started puttering about the house.
Tea. Shower. Cooking. More tea. Snacking. Laundry. Email….
At least today I know I’m procrastinating. Yesterday, when I was procrastinating without realizing I was procrastinating, I researched all things swimming. I found workouts online. I read about stroke mechanics. I figured out that there is a masters swimming nationals and it’s going to be in Indianapolis this year. I looked up the qualifying times for what I expect will be the events I will compete in. I speculated on my goals and what it would take to make the top fifty times for my age group. I registered for a swim meeting next weekend. In the process of all this I produced nothing. I didn’t actually go swimming. I didn’t start reading The Dog Stars. And I definitely didn’t write.
I think knowing how much work is ahead of me is overwhelming me. I know what I have and how much more needs to get done. I know the story I want to tell. I know that I can’t bear not telling it. Now I just need to sit down and write it. And that, my friends, is where I’m stuck.
Case in point, here I am writing a blog post instead of sitting my butt down and working on finishing this story! Honestly, what is it going to take to get me to do the work?