I had an assignment to write an article for my buddy Roy's new magazine, 2nd & Church. The assignment was fairly open-ended: go see the new movie, The Raven about Edgar Allan Poe, and write about it. Since I was due to be gone on various retreats for two weeks, Roy gave me a special dispensation to get the article in much later than everyone else's deadline.
Well, shit happened, and I dithered. Wasn't sure I wanted to see the movie, didn't know how I'd write about it. I emailed Roy and dissembled. He emailed back and told me to just do it, already. (Actually, he said, in a very kind way, that I could have until the end of this week to just do it.)
And so yesterday I went to see the movie, figuring I'd write up the article today and send it off.
Today I procrastinated. I did everything but write. I hung out with my daughter. We walked The Most Beautiful Baby Ever Born to the New Deal cafe and ate lunch on the back patio. I wrote some emails. Watched HGTV.
And once in awhile, in between these important activities, once in awhile, I'd do a little research. I looked up articles on Edgar Allan Poe, re-read the poem The Raven. And then I went back to other more important activities.
My daughter left, I went to the store for groceries, came home and fed the animals. And then with a half an hour before I had to cook dinner, I sat down and wrote. The article just flowed out of me. Took a break to cook dinner and sat back down again. More words flowed. I ignored the weeding I promised to do and wrote more.
Finished the rough draft just shy of 8 PM. And you know what? It's not half bad. (Well, Roy will actually be the judge of that.) I still have to go back in and rewrite and polish, but I'm happy with what I produced.
And here's the deal: throughout all that time that I was supposedly procrastinating, my subconscious mind was working. Processing. Making connections. The funny thing is, I could feel this happening in some part of my mind. Which is probably why I didn't panic at any point during the day.
Keep calm and carry on.
Somebody said that, I don't know who, but I think it's my new writing motto.
And now, I've got to go rewrite that article....
Has this ever happened to you? Have you procrastinated and then suddenly hit paydirt in the rush of writing words? Or have you had the opposite experience? Please share your experiences with us by commenting below.
Create a successful, inspired writing life: Next time you're procrastinating, try relaxing and letting your brain wander, too. You might just come up with the written piece you are looking for.
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Photo from Wikipedia.