Procrastibaking, Netflix and My Phone
That is not a misspelled word. It is what I do when I don’t have the ambition to write. I also binge on Netflix and play games on my phone. Don’t lie, you do too.
December is a particularly difficult month when you are a Procrastibaker, you have every excuse in the world to whip up a cheesecake or spend a day baking all the cookies in your arsenal.
I’ve always been a baker, but for the last 3 years I’ve been a licensed home baker in Maine. All that means is that my kitchen passed inspection and if I want to try to bake for a living I can. Baking for a living, it turns out, is actually more profitable than writing.
My point here is that this is hard to do. That every other little thing that there is to do that keeps me from doing this, I will do. Writing. Games on my phone, doomscrolling through news sites, watching Netflix and baking, are my means to procrastinate. Why is WRITING so hard?
Do not put off till tomorrow what can be put off till day-after-tomorrow just as well. [“Mark Twain,” “Advice to Young People,” 1882]
But what is it about human nature that we have this approach/avoidance dilemma with the thing we want to DO the most? We are both attracted to practicing our craft, and avoid it for no good reason.
Writing takes place in the inner most parts of us. Our words come from a well of emotion, thought, insight and experience buried under the many layers of daily living we have accumulated. We dust off our thoughts and put them down onto a fresh page only to find that the thought we originally wanted to convey has grown new legs and taken off on its own.
This marvelous magic happens rarely. When writing fiction, occasionally one of the characters in a story will grow new traits, desirable or otherwise, she will acquire a personality that was unintended yet seems to fit. It is God-like to control the story of a characters life. Even more bewitching is to be both the creator of a fictional character and a bystander during the process of creation as the new soul reveals itself while you type.
Writing is the rebirth of the creation story on a personal level. Imagining someone, a character of your own design, then making them manifest in words that we share with others, reveals something elemental about ourselves.
I am not an expert at anything. But having felt this magic, and witnessed a character being born on a page, had her look me in the eye and dare me to make her do something outrageous, has me hooked as a fiction writer.
My Grandfather George always said he knew a little bit about everything and a lot about nothing. A know a lot about this nothing, this desire to keep writing. I know particularly little about how to make it happen. So, as exemplified here, I just keep doing it.
I know little about writing except that it wells up in me and I can’t keep from dong it no matter how hard I try to bake the perfect croissant.