Procrastination as a Strategy

I don’t know why it is, but I sometimes find myself the most inspired to write if it’s avoiding the story I’m SUPPOSED to be writing. I keep peeking around the tree right in front of me to admire the one just a little ways beyond. Why do I feel so compelled to ignore this tree that’s so immediate? The one that requires attention because, if I keep ignoring it, I will bash into it. See, you can’t actually move past the tree if you keep pretending it’s not there. Maybe a some bark-rash would be well deserved.

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As it is, I’m currently working on an Appalachian fantasy novel I’ve been chipping away at for a few years, now. I’m supposed to be finishing the last of my Mermaid Underground series–which I’m not ignoring, exactly, just … well, it’s right in front of me, so how can I possibly see it?

Luckily I’m putting off another blog I’m supposed to be working on, otherwise I’d never have written this one!

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Maybe it’s not procrastination, after all. Instead of ignoring trees, I’m following the old rule about confronting wild animals: Don’t look them in the eye; they’ll think you’re being aggressive. If I sidle up to the story quiet-like, gazing all the while at the further, less threatening project, then maybe the beast will let me reach my hand out like … this … and stroke its fur. It’s pretty soft, if you can overlook the burs. I’ll get those out with a bit of editing. Ok, maybe a lot of editing. Burs are tricky.

If you Google “Procrastination as Strategy,” you’ll get a whole list of articles about how to beat procrastination, how to beat your own self into submission and get shit done. But, really, when it comes to creatives … isn’t a little procrastination good? I mean, I’m taming beasts over here. You can’t do that quickly.

I heard a TED Talk, once, about how procrastination can actually be a good thing. I’ll give you the link to that. In a minute. I’ve got some other stuff to do first.

Aaaaand, here we go: it’s buried in this TED Talks blog. Second entry. Pretty interesting stuff. If you’re looking to procrastinate, check out some of the other TED Talks listed here. They’re always good for food for thought. Who knows? Maybe they’ll help you tame some beasts.

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International Women’s Day

Happy Wednesday, March 8: International Women’s Day. And, if you’re participating in the day’s events, it’s also a Day Without a Woman.

I’ve heard much poo-pooing of the protests going on this day, but I agree with them. In fact, I support my son’s teachers, who are taking the day off in honor of this Day Without a Woman.

Women are not appreciated in this country. We objectify and insult our female Marines. Our president’s multiple assaults on women pass with a few head-shakings and tongue-cluckings, but there he is. Our country’s mast-head, notoriously disrespectful of women.

I myself have transformed many times in my lifetime, professionally and personally, as a result of the most feminine thing a woman can do: birthing children. I felt apologetic about that, even using my motherhood as an excuse to explain my patchwork resume to future employers. I thought my story was unique, and maybe a touch shameful, that my personal (regrettable) choices to put my family and my sanity first, in not wanting to spend 90% of my waking time in an office and miss all my kids’ childhood, that all this was something to apologize for.

I’m discovering that my story is not at all unusual, that many women go through a version of personal, professional and financial penalization as a result of having to choose between motherhood and working in the big, wide world. To put it delicately: fuck that.

Is it getting better? Yes it is. The internet has revolutionized the workforce. Remote employers don’t care if there’s a spot of baby puke on my shoulder while I pound out my articles. But women are still discriminated against: called drama queens or bitches if they get upset at work, whereas a man throwing a fit is considered a power play. And, yes, women are still paid less than their male counterparts for the same jobs.

In other parts of the world, women are devalued even further: shot for voicing opinions, burned or stoned for going against male rules, raped as punishment.

The protesters today have been criticized for being privileged: they are the “safe” demographic, able to walk out of their jobs without fear of being terminated. But I applaud the use of that privilege to draw attention to the plight of women who can’t afford to make their stance known. Appreciate the women in your life, today and every day. We’re valuable.