Best Laid Plans

Water spill

I sit down to write after watering and fertilizing the droopy, yellowing plants. I have been in a bit of a drought myself lately, but rain is in the offing, and today is the day I have promised myself to move from avoidance to the keyboard. I have deliberately left the Internet off so I won’t be tempted to fall down the rabbit hole of email, Facebook, and depressing headlines. I have put five discs in the CD player, hoping to feed myself with music instead of the crackers and tea I obsessively consume to fuel my procrastination and self-doubt. I have set the kitchen timer for just an hour, following the advice of a writing teacher: “Under-commit, over-achieve.”

On my way to the computer, I see that water is streaming from the saucer of the pot I have just doused. It pools on the oak surface before cascading down the bookcase, onto the books and framed pictures— Ally’s 18th birthday party, the professional shots of my daughters at their most beautiful. Only the photo of them as little girls in the bath together remains dry.

Shit. If I catch the spill now, I can prevent the rot and warp of delay. So I mop it up hastily, removing a few books, swiping at the glass protecting my daughters, hoping the water has not seeped into too many hidden places.

Fetching another towel for a final sopping up around the edges, I am tempted to throw in the towel on the morning’s writing. I try to convince myself that the rot and warp of delay, the seeping into hidden places, is the fertilizer of writing. Which it is. But it is also the avoidance that takes me too often into a parched landscape where nothing grows.

So I write this before the timer rings.


Anybody else have days like this? Anybody not have days like this? How do you recover?


14 thoughts on “Best Laid Plans

  1. I was nodding my head so much while reading this, my shadow looked like a dang bobble-head. How hard it is to find the luxury of time and space and inspiration to write all at once. It seems like that only occurs for me in the middle of the night, when I can’t find my glasses or a pen in the dark to jot down the thought that won’t let me sleep.

    Your writing, and now your bookcase since it now has a Watermark With a Story, have great character. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. Yup. I’ve decided to be easy and gentle with myself with this year I’ve had. I feel like I’m crawling, but that’s going to have be okay for now.
    I love your imagery and metaphors!

  3. Lorrie, I’m another tea-drinking procrastinator. Isn’t it amazing how often you need just one more cup before you can sit down to seriously write? Sorry to hear about the water from the plant and your daughter’s photos. I hate when that happens. But still, you were able to push through and write something, right? Like Nancy says, that’s more than I’m doing right now.

    • Thanks, Chloe. The photos are salvaged, as was the day–until I got so absorbed in my writing, I missed an important appointment. Sometimes I think that’s why we keep ourselves from writing–we may never want to stop. Life interrupts writing, and writing interrupts life. BTW, you hardly seem like a procrastinator who doesn’t get down to things!

  4. Totally relate, but so lacking in self-discipline. I write when I have to write, and it helps me to find some peace, but someday I hope to have the time and space in my life to do that more regularly! Your piece is beautifully written!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words. I often find the more space I have, the worse my avoidance. Those “have-to’s”–deadlines, the inner press of anguish–really help deliver!

  5. Can’t tell you how much I relate…my brushes and paper are sitting there neglected while I read your blog and write this comment!

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