Procrantination

I had been studiously reading the newspaper while eating lunch. Doing two things at once. Very efficient.  Getting up to embark on my next task – yep, I was going to do some writing, having managed to avoid it all morning – I replaced the paper on the coffee table. Out of the corner of my eye it looked like the wood grain was fluid; the table no longer solid. Not me losing the plot. It turned out to be a mass of busy ants hurrying between the papers, tissue box and remote controls that hang about on there.  Further examination revealed many more milling about on the carpet and mountaineering up the table legs.

Not being an avid housekeeper, cleaning rarely makes it onto my to do list. As soon as it’s done you have to start again, much like gardening and decorating.  Best just to let a certain fuzzy sludginess build up, I find. Although, if people are coming to stay, I do actually shift the need to clean up to the top of my list and get round to doing (most/some of) it. In acknowledgment of my general lack of housewifely qualities, I had chosen a neutral (okay, dust coloured) carpet with flecks in it, including, rather cleverly I thought at the time, black flecks, to disguise the black sock fluff that gets everywhere since everyone in the household now wears black socks. Because the winter has gone on and on, and we’re all still wearing socks in June, there’s more sock related fluff than ever, providing ample camouflage on ant day.

It takes quite a long time to catch ants. Perfect procrastination for a Monday afternoon. Once you remove one from its path the others get giddy and gad off in all directions.  In the end, I gave up on being humane and was down on my hands and knees with the sticky roller used to remove ginger cat hairs from dark clothes, and on occasion from the cat himself. (He seems to enjoy it; perhaps I could set up a cat spa.)

Cat and Carpet

Cat and Carpet

Anyway, the roller was also very effective at catching ants, although perhaps cruel.  I felt like I’d committed genocide, and of such an industrious and non-procrastinatory species. They do just get on with it, ants, don’t they?

I suppose my sticky clothes roller approach to ant catching is a more modern, handheld version of my grandfather’s method of dealing with the same problem.  He used to tie sticky paper round the trunk of the plum tree to catch insects making their way up towards the fruit.

Still, I’m feeling very wary about karma. It’s strange being god-like and all powerful over something so much smaller than yourself.  I don’t like it at all.

 

Pulling teeth, blood from a stone, words from my pen

It’s half term and my brain has decided to go on holiday, leaving my body here to deal with the rain, lethargy and a visit from the anti-writing gremlins. I can’t seem to get any words down.  Even my list, usually overflowing with things that will never get done, is lacking in vocab. Only two words on it, but written in a variety of styles, as if to encourage inspiration.

Blog Post

BLOG POST

Blog POST

****BLOg post***

BL… well, you get the idea.  If I could work out how to highlight it on here, I would.

In addition, there’s a weekly reminder in my phone that keeps pinging at me: BLOG POST. I’m determined not to be one of the seven gazillion bloggers who fail in the first few months, leaving their poor blogs sad and lonely. No readers is one thing, an AWOL writer, quite another.

So finally, today at 3.30, I dragged myself to the computer.  My usual warm up routine followed: checking emails and flicking through spotify.  For some reason I was drawn to the music of my (later) youth.  I was creating a playlist including The Proclaimers and The Beautiful South when my offspring lolloped in.

Much eye rolling about my musical taste ensued.  Then, further unasked for distraction. It was suggested that I try out some bands of the up-to-date variety.  DaftPunk (Who?) Currently number one, apparently.  Biffy Clyro – not a female country singer as I had assumed with a name like that, but a Scottish guitar band.  Think they have had a go with that pen name generator.

Delightful as this quality time was, 4.30 pm approached and I suggested that due to the late hour, offspring might like to commence the day’s revision.

Standard response received: “Its not my fault.”

Of course, I know that nothing is your fault when you are thirteen. No. Haywire hormones, overprotective parents and annoying teachers are to blame for everything.  I remember it well. Daftpunk aside, I’m not that much of an old fart.

“Anyway,” continued offspring, “you haven’t done any work today either.  Why don’t you stop listening to The Procrastinators and get on with some writing.”

Out of the mouths of teens…

It’s The Proclaimers,” I muttered and duly logged on to pull teeth, squeeze blood from a stone and finally get some words down.

 

 

 

Procrastination gets things done

Procrastination gets things done. So someone tells me. A distinctly positive, glass half-full sort of person. To be fair, the pro in procrastination does make it sound like a let’s-get-on-with-it, all action sort of word, along the lines of progression, proceeding and productive. I suppose what he’s saying is, you may not be completing your tax return or cleaning the oven, but you have, in desperation to avoid doing those things, finally put together the ikea chest of drawers which has been lurking quietly in the garage, wrapped in its packaging for the last two years.

It is most likely that I should have attributed “procrastination gets things done” to someone famous and worthy. The person who said it to me is an accountant not a philosopher, after all. Where would we be, I ask you, if it turned out that the bean counters had all the answers?

IMG_0922-001

I thought this week’s procrastination would be setting up Google Analytics for this blog. But it didn’t take me that long to do: about an hour watching youtube videos yesterday and only ten minutes actually doing the dreaded technical stuff this morning. I’m not sure whether it was worth it to find out that the IT Director is my only reader.  I know, I know – I need to tell people about it.  Maybe that will be my objective for next week.  Ha ha.

Another potentially time wasting activity has been creating a pen name. There are websites out there capable of generating one for you. These are the first three presented to me: Nobe Benvenisty, Rolando Giacherio and Agripina Dyke. I am not making this up. None of these are quite what I was aiming for.

Have a go yourself http://www.namegenerator.biz/pseudonym-generator.php.

Not only did I spend/waste time on various of these name generators, I also researched the pros and cons of using a pen name. This caused me to waver. There was a perilous moment when I thought “Nah, I’ll just do everything under my own name.”

Then I changed my mind again. Procrastinator’s prerogative. I decided to go with a combination of family names in the end. Everything I’ve had published so far (okay, four stories) has been as a result of entering online writing competitions. My first proper submission using my new pen name is sitting in its envelope waiting to go to the post office…

 

List writing skills

I discovered yesterday that I am not alone in a list writing habit I have. My friend, graphic designer, mum of two, and all round superwoman, does exactly the same as me:

  1. Write a list of everything that needs to be done
  2. Do none of the things on the list
  3. Do some other more enjoyable things instead
  4. Add these things to the bottom of the list
  5. Cross them off

Yesterday, the things she added to the bottom of her list were “go to zumba” and “buy scones.”

scones-002