Saturday, May 31, 2008

Procrastination

Tomorrow is:

-the first day of counting the words I write, towards 50,000 words by the end of June.
-the first of my One Local Summer blog posts about eating a meal made up of all locally produced food.
-the annual, local Hummingbird Festival.

I had imagined knowing many more details (at least the middle and the end of the story) about my novel, by today, the day before I start this gargantuan undertaking. I have an image. It is a picture of Gillen at the farm looking, from a distance, like he is talking to the vegetables. My idea is that he is actually answering some humorous ancestral ghosts who are going to get him to help out a relationship that is in trouble...or have him find the treasure that will save his family... or set him straight about life and the pursuit of happiness, or all three. I read the book that Chris Baty, the originator of nanowrimo, wrote, which is filled with hints about how to succeed. Once I had read that too much preparation was a big mistake, and that giving myself the right music, lots of snacks and much caffeine could be helpful, I knew that this was the right kind of writing project for me. I need pressure, and crazy small goals, and delicious incentive. I will be telling myself that I can have that Green and Black's chocolate at the end of one more page, or that I can run screaming into the night and onto the trampoline, or, more likely, pass out on the nearby bed only once I reach the day's word count goal.

I wrote my high school senior paper, a loooong one that we were given half of the school year to work on, in three days. I was doing a lot of theater and had a job and "Dynasty" was on tv. This was, of course, way before computers. No rough draft. Lots of white-out. I fell asleep on my typewriter before I'd hit the finish. My glorious mother, I kid you not, lied to the school and told them that her mother had died (her mother was not part of our lives, they were estranged, but still...) thereby buying me a few more hours. It provided just the extra hour or so I needed to reach deep and come up smelling like roses, even though I had red ridges and wrinkles on my face from the typewriter keys and seemed strangely O.K. for having just lost my grandmother. I got a B+. I don't think that my ultra-serious high-school prep. school, whose graduates mostly ended up in Harvard, Radcliffe or Yale, graded based on sympathy votes. But, I really could be wrong.

A dangerous precedent was set.

Audition preparation in NY, college papers, birthday cards, handmade gifts, even going into labor - nothing gets my creativity and productivity moving like being on the deadline.

I shouldn't make light of this major character flaw. It quietly concerns me when one of my children shows signs of being the same way. But it's too late to change it before this latest endeavor. Plus, the same trait has produced amazing results for my successful siblings ...

Hopefully, I'll just post a few hummingbirds and local food pictures tomorrow and will save my words for the novel. If I am writing here, it means only one thing - procrastination. Tell me to go clean my refrigerator.


I have wanted to write a book ever since I was seven and wrote stories on yellow legal pads at our kitchen table. I need to remember that. This is supposed to be fun. It will be fun. Maybe I can make it to the thrift store today and find a hat that makes me feel like I did at seven.

9 comments:

diana(hahamommy) said...

**I shouldn't make light of this major character flaw**
You're right! You *could* make LOVE to this Major Character Trait :)
I love flying by the seat of my pants... even when the rest of the world doesn't. I've found the more I embrace what I *am* the easier it is for me to test out other character traits that may work better for the situation at hand. What I've found? It's easier for me to *plan* a flight by the seat of my pants than to resist it's natural occurrence.
Here's a toast to the amazing story inside of you, waiting to be told. May it be told in the exact process it's supposed to unfold... Feel free to channel my energy anytime you need! Love!!

Madeline said...

Diana!! What timing. I just spent the morning finally finishing your card (it's been a week long process :) and rewarded myself with a break here - and here you are!! Love when that happens. Thanks for the support! And I am sending you a book on writing by Annie Lamott (I can't keep surprises) so I hope you start writing even more.

Sara said...

Good luck with the writing! Definitely make it fun. I'm looking forward to the One Local Summer starting this week. My farmer's market opens Tues. Speaking of, my friend and I are taking a road trip from Wilmington, NC, to Atlanta this month. If time permits, we're going to stop by the farmer's market on Sat, June 21st to stock up for the day. We're seeing REM that night.

anna said...

I really hope the writing goes well for you! I did NaNoWriMo in 2001, 2002, and 2003, and it definitely is a great feeling when you hit your goals.

I think this is my first comment here, so I also just want to say thanks for the great blog -- I've been enjoying it!

mindy said...

OMG!!!!! It starts tomorrow! Yeah You! Here's to lots of coffee, chocolate, and fabulous words. I can't wait 'till the end of June...!

Angie said...

From one red-head procrastinator to another:

You can do it! I'm with you in spirit and loudly (obnoxiously) cheering you on.

Can't wait to hear about your progress.

Best of luck.

Madeline said...

Thanks soo much for the support. I really need that. Anna, I am glad to meet you! It is encouraging that you were successful so many times.

Sara, you may be at our market?!! How exciting. Please let me know for sure if you will be or not so I am absolutely certain to be there and meet you IRL and grab you and your friend to go for a great baked good and coffee, or even lunch across the street. And REM! Fantastic.

Kaat said...

It'll be fun!
One more tip: just write on. Rewrite once (if that's at all in the rules), at the end of a chapter.
Good luck!!
Katrien at MamaStories

Kat said...

Oh, I didn't know you blogged! For someone like me (who is just a wannabe writer) this is such a great outlet. I'll be checking in on you...and hoping to hear about your developing "baby."

From one procrastinator to another...

Katrina (from LEAD)