A few years ago, I came across an article by Megan McArdle in The Atlantic called “Why Writers are the Worst Procrastinators”: https://www.livescience.com/64668-obesity-cancer-young-adults.html
I was drawn to the essay because 1) I’m a writer, and 2) I’ve procrastinated on occasion. Once I break away from procrastination, though, I always question why I fell into the cycle in the first place. Truth be told, I love writing–pretty much everything about it.
The creation of ideas.
Finding the right words to present those ideas.
The rhythm on the page.
The satisfaction of working through thoughts and emotions in a way that only writing can do.
According to McArdle, there’s a logic to writers turning into the “worst procrastinators.” Simply put, they worry too much. They’ll have nothing to show for hours spent leaning over a desk staring at an empty sheet of paper or slouched in front of a computer. Coming up with words that aren’t any good. Fearing the arduous work that is writing–the same feeling that turns to a sense of joy and satiation once the words are committed to the page and you realize that you’ve nailed it. Not meeting a deadline, or meeting it minus a gleeful response from an editor or intended reader.
Since 2017, when Dad became ill and Mom went to the nursing home for care, I’ve found writing to be even more necessary to my daily life. I’ve always turned to writing, a staple of my day like eating or exercising. But these days, I write with a greater sense of urgency.
If I fail to put what I’m experiencing into words, I might just not make it. Every morning since Dad passed away, I wake up with a lingering sense of uncertainty. It settles in my brain and my gut, in no particular order. What crises will emerge regarding Mom’s health, the running of the family farm, moving out of one house and into another where Mom’s needs and ours can be addressed? Writing helps me sort through all of those disparate parts.
After I’ve put it all down on paper, the chaos is still chaos. But it’s a tad more manageable. Writers wait, but we love that feeling of creating order in an unpredictable world.