An Anxious Perfectionist Procrastinates
Put the kettle on, make some tea. Light a candle—you can’t write without a candle. You can’t smell the candle—in fact, the air smells stale. Open a window. Sit down to write. Open a blank page. “I need a new computer, how will I be able to blog or write or edit photos seriously if I don’t have a new computer with an actual battery life and better screen resolution? I can’t even properly online shop on this thing.”
Speaking of online shopping, you need to look for throw pillows for your spare bedroom. Oh wait, no, not throw pillows—hanging planters. Drilled-in-the-wall planters. No wait, both. All three? Simmer down, you don’t need to buy everything at once, you just spent a bunch of money on furnishing the guest room you don’t sleep in. But it’s nice to have a welcoming space for guests—your Aunt had a lovely guest room when you visited, and it felt so cozy. Look for some throw pillows. Open up Amazon. Oh wait—Amazon doesn’t have what you want, you looked there yesterday. Check out the Urban Outfitters Sale, they have the cutest pillows. And home décor, oh my gosh I want everything! Cute wall mirrors and velvet chairs and beaded phases of the moon. I don’t need a wire frame decoration of a woman’s torso to hang my jewelry on. I already have a jewelry hanger. But it’s so lovely and on sale! It’s also mass produced consumerism, faux-art. I studied art history, I can’t succumb to consumerism, I can’t buy mass-produced faux art masquerading as real art. UGH.
Real art! Now there’s an idea. Let’s look for prints instead, more affordable authenticity. Etsy probably has great prints. Hmm, all that’s being shown are international shops with expensive shipping. I wonder if I could get these Picasso line drawings as downloads, then send them to Walgreens for printing. Is it photo paper or matte paper that they print on? Can I get it framed there? Or do I need to buy frames? How much are frames?
Exit the browser. I shouldn’t be doing this. I’m supposed to be writing. This is what you planned to do today. For months you have felt this urge, every day, to pour your thoughts out on paper. But where do you start? What thoughts deserve to be expanded and put out into the world? Do you try to begin a novel? You don’t even know how to begin a novel, much less write a novel. Do you write a series of essays? On what? Maybe you should read more, read more to get ideas, read more to get ideas on ideas and ideas on structure and ideas on character development. That’s silly, you’ve been reading almost every day your whole life. Now you’re just making excuses. Open the Word document, hover your fingers over the keyboard.
Stand up, stretch, look at your dog, who is sleeping on the couch. Sit down and try to write again. Start a sentence. Hate that sentence. Add another sentence. Hate how it looks on the page next to the first sentence and how it sounds when you read it out loud. Delete. Stretch again. Stand up. You feel stiff, your neck is sore. Time for a workout, maybe that will get the juices flowing. Juice – like Lizzo! Ok something with less “Tempo,” if you catch my drift.
Put on a yoga video. Try to breathe-in-breathe-out-anjali-mudra. Think about feeling your body in movement. Realize that you shouldn’t be thinking about feeling your body in movement, just feeling your body in movement. Synchronize your breath. Practice. Look up at the clock and realize 30 minute have already gone by.
Sit back down at your computer, open it. Pull up a blank word document. Realize you’ve got no battery life left even though you’re computer’s been charging all day. Can’t look at the screen, either—it’s too dark, it hurts your eyes.
Decide you need some tea before you begin writing. Go to the kitchen. Your tea is cold. Turn the kettle on. Make another cup.