Impediment #2: Procrastination (with a little wisdom from Walter Mosley)
Laziness and procrastination are not always synonymous.
Laziness is the disinclination to work. Think about those sticky summer afternoons where moving seems nearly impossible. Procrastination can be laziness, but as writers, we are good at the other type of procrastination, always deferring the writing for other engagements, tasks, chores. We love this type because it comes hand-in-hand with justification. Baking that cake for a friend’s birthday takes precedence over writing. Cleaning the flat takes precedence over writing. And surely calling Mama takes precedence over writing.
Once in a while, this is admissible. These things have to be done – especially the calling home one. But the writing has to get done as well. We claim to be writers, we claim to be passionate, so how is it that we can’t push ourselves to write sometimes?
Straightforward procrastination is an author’s worst enemy, but there are others: the writer who suddenly has chores that have gone undone for months but that now seem urgent; the diarist who develops a keen wish to write about her experiences today instead of writing her book; the Good Samaritan who realizes that there’s a world out there that needs saving; the jack-of-all-trades who, when he begins one project, imagines ten others that are equally or even more important.
Forget all that. Don’t write in the journal unless you’re writing a chapter of your book. Save the world at 8:30 instead of 7:00. Let the lawn get shaggy and the paint peel from the walls.
If you need justification, my fellow procrastination addicts, there you have it. Take it from Walter. In the end, what are you trying to achieve? A well-manicured lawn? Or a ground-breaking novel? You can’t always have both.