Angela Bassett, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Terry McMillan, S.A. Young, focus, procrastination, writing

Angela Basset in “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” – based on the novel by Terry McMillan

Is it my Saturday again? But I’m still not ready! “Why, oh why, did I tell people that I was going to write a short story?!”, I wailed to the mirror on Tuesday morning, knowing that I was about to have the week from hell, in a month that’s been comprised of them. If only I hadn’t typed out that promise and then hit post then there would be no pressure to get the thing done, right? Well, exactly. Without that pressure, self-imposed or otherwise, it likely never would be. By now we’re all aware that I am a procrastinating tortoise. (Surprisingly, that is not the animal that Facebook, using their scientific methods, came up with.) I know K. R. was joking, but we also know that I need the pressure and when I finally do get whatever task I’m under the gun to finish completed, I’m always grateful for it.

My pile of scraps is still growing as I continue to jot down ideas or bits of dialogue for the story that is never far from my mind. Or at least the thought that I have to make some progress is always with me, no matter what I’m doing. When I sit down at my laptop at the end of the day, however, nothing. Bupkus. The cursor continues to blink accusingly and the page stubbornly remains blank.

whine, wine, S.A. Young, procrastination, deadline, focus

Honestly, gentle reader, I am not here to whine (okay, maybe a little) or make excuses, but, lately, the tortoise is feeling a little like the March Hare, rushing from one place or project to the next.  There have not been enough hours in my September to do all of the things I’ve wanted to do, at least not if I wanted to remain a fully functioning human being. (I don’t require a lot of sleep, but some is nice.)

anxiety, busy, late, March Hare, S.A. Young

I always try to use my commute time wisely, sitting on the train with a pen and one of my endless supply of little notebooks and pads at the ready. Then of course my phone will ding and I’ll have to put down the pen to see if it’s a “work thing” which may need my immediate attention (despite the fact that I’m on the train and really, what exactly am I supposed to do from there?) which leads me to checking email where I inevitably find that one of the writing blogs I follow has a new post, and well, I’d better read it because the key to writing success – and therefore happiness – could, finally, be contained therein.

Which brings me to another source of anxiety, and the point of this blog. How much information is too much? Is there such a thing? Is there a point where the wisdom offered up by other writers and writing coaches just all blends together and the time it takes to sift out the nuggets becomes a distraction? In my opinion, the answer is yes.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m at the place where each new thing I read seems to contradict the last thing I read and what I’m now taking away from all of this continued study is that I have no idea what I’m doing.  How did stories and books get written before the internet and this surfeit of information could be found at our fingertips?

I know what my MMC in our collective works-in-progress would say. “Fuck that. Just do it.” (Who does he think he is, Nike?)

C.C. told you about our upcoming retreat next week. In the midst of trying to get everything done in order to take off and go during a very busy time for the University at which I am employed, I’m filled with enough excitement to override the anxiety. I can’t wait for the huge, squishy hugs, laughing so hard it’s possible we’ll lose control of our bodily functions and so long our sides will hurt into the following week, but I am also looking forward to getting my focus back. As C. C. mentioned, amazingly enough, we are really good together both at our craft and giving each other the encouragement we need to believe we’re any good at our craft. We can definitely hold each other’s feet to the fire, but we also don’t have time for pity parties. Together we feel, we know, we can do it.

I don’t have any illusions that next week is going to give me the time to work on my little solo project, not when we have an album a book to put out. My story is not what the week is about, but I know to my bones that it will give me my mojo, my juju, my groove* back.

Though I’ve already asked this of you once, don’t give up on me just yet. As many of you said to me, “it’ll come”.  Maybe a short story will make a nice Christmas present?

So, what are you struggling with this week? Any projects you’re on a deadline to finish? Anything you’re looking forward to? You can share. I’ll bring the vodka.

vodka, S.A. Young, anxiety, deadline, procrastination, focus


*unfortunately, it won’t involve the presence of Taye Diggs