As mentioned before, I love Dorothy Parker, as much for her witticisms as her poetry and prose. She’s my “if you could have dinner with anyone in history” person. I just know if I’d been around in the 1920's, we’d have hung out together, guzzling bootlegged whiskey and getting up to all sorts of no good. I thought of her today because my plans to write went sideways. I’d every intention of getting a few pages of my latest short story down on paper. Instead I found myself preoccupied by news that a family member and a dear friend are suffering from a health crisis. My plotline flew out the window along with any focus I’d had to scribe it.
The trouble is procrastination is so darn easy. Writers, it seems, are especially adept at it, even though it’s their arch nemesis. Ask Dorothy. In response to a letter she received while on her honeymoon from a publisher who was complaining she missed a deadline, she jotted down, “Too fucking busy, or vice versa.” (What a gem of a line!)
Sure, she had a point, as do I. I can see where honeymooning would probably take precedence over writing, just like my preoccupation with the welfare of my loved ones. While we can justify our priorities until the cows come home, we’re wrong to do so. Even when I can’t focus on the intricacies of a story line, I can write a blog post about it. I feel it’s important to make an effort to write every day, especially because one day I want to be making money doing it. My output doesn’t have to be lengthy, or any good for that matter, (as even on a good day at least some of my writing gets ditched). But, I feel it’s important to sit at the computer and throw a few words on a page every single day; it keeps my creative juices flowing. Just like muscles and memory, if we writers don’t use it we lose it.
I look back with regret at the missed opportunities I had to put pen to paper. Maybe it took getting to mid-life to understand that saying you’re going to do something and actually doing it are two very different things. Just like pledging to work out every day, or start a diet to lose 20 pounds, writing success only comes if you are prepared to invest time and energy. Take this blog post. Is it the best one I’m ever going to write? Good grief, I hope not! But sit here and write it I did, even though I was messaging friends and family for updates the entire time. (Upon review, my inner critic will chastise me for the over-abundant use of clichés!)
My intent with this post is to motivate fellow writers to crack that laptop open and write right now. Write a poem that won’t ever be read by anyone else. Write a Limerick! Write a character description inspired by today’s trip to the supermarket. Write a letter to someone you love, or someone you hate, for that matter. Nike says, (but not as eloquently as Ben Stiller in the remake of Starsky and Hutch), just “Do it.” I’m confident that tomorrow you’ll be glad you did!