Friday, January 13, 2012

The Eventually Excuse

I am a huge fan of eventually. Eventually may be my favorite excuse for putting off those things I know I need to do. I’m not ignoring the laundry, I’ll do it eventually. I’m not forgoing editing that book, eventually, I’ll get to it. 
It feels a lot better than my old excuse which was more like: “I don’t feel like doing this right now, so I just won’t do it.” The problem with that one was that after a while, I realized that you can’t just act on how you feel. Sometimes I don’t feel like changing a diaper (actually, I pretty much never feel like doing that) but I can’t very well leave my kid in a doodie diaper. Unless I’m a sucky mom, which I’m not.
So I started using the eventually excuse. Eventually, I’ll do the dishes. I’ll finish the book eventually. Not now. Now I’m busy. But eventually it’ll happen.
The problem? My handy little eventually excuse is exactly the same as my juvenile I-don’t-feel-like-it excuse.
I read a blog post by Maggie Stiefvater once where she said that every time you do something you’re making it a priority. I didn’t want to believe this at the time, because, well (my agent will shudder to read this) I was being a slacker. I wasn’t writing nearly as much as I should have. I wasn’t reading at all. I wasn’t learning or being creative. I was slacking. Plain and simple. And, at the time, I believed that my slacking was justified.
I’d say to myself, I don’t need to write now; I have other things to do. Important things that make me happy. Maggie doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Just because I’m doing these other things first doesn’t mean they’re more important than writing. Writing is the best. It’s the most fun, rewarding, exciting thing ever. It’s just that…well, sometimes writing is work, too. And sometimes having others read your writing is plain terrible (people can be very cruel). So sometimes, I don’t want to write, simply to spare myself the bad parts. I’ll do other things first, and get to the important stuff eventually.
Except, eventually didn’t come for a long, long time. I kept using my little excuse. Kept making other things a priority. Now, eventually is here, and I’ve realized that the time I’ve wasted on eventually will never return. I made those other things more important than my GOAL. Which is, quite simply, to be an amazing writer. Not just a good writer. Not an average writer. But a flipping amazing writer.
And it became clear to me, very suddenly – though I don’t know exactly when it hit me – that I can’t make that happen if I make other things** more important than writing. Writing is my favorite thing in the world, and I shouldn’t let laziness or fear get in the way of doing what I love.
So, since it’s January and everyone is making resolutions, I’ll make one of my own: I’ll start making writing my priority again. No more eventually. No more excuses. Just writing.
It’s pretty much the easiest resolution I’ve ever made. Hands down.
**Now, this, of course, doesn’t apply to my kids. My kids take precedent over writing, simply because if I don’t take care of them A) they’ll die. B) child services will take them away. Neither of which I want to happen.

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