Procrastination (TURN… to face the strain)

by david

As we near the end of the “blog every day” month, I asked on Facebook if there were any topics I should write about, and almost immediately, like he knew the dirty terrible secret at my core, Adam Brooks wrote, “Procrastination.”

OH, FOLKS. Procrastination is what my tattoo would say if I’d ever get around to it.

If I took one of those transcendental meditation workshops, my custom mantra would be some variation on procrastination.

Most of the work I get done is only done out of procrastination: there’s something more important I’m not doing when I’m doing that work.

Wanna get meta? I’m blogging every day (I even used the words “first-draft essay” to describe my everyday output!) NOW. NOW. You know what I’m not doing right now as I type this? I’m not:

* running lines for my show that opens in less than two months
* working on promotions for that show
* preparing my house for a new baby
* working on my job, which is approaching a major crossroads and requires more than 40 hours per week
* writing my novel
* writing new stand-up material
* WRITING A WILL. I’m a parent without a will.
* handling any of the thousand things I haven’t handled.

If I wasn’t posting this, though, you know what I’d be doing

* REplaying (RE!) “Fallout 3” on XBOX.
* Watching baseball
* Reading a Pynchon novel again
* Obsessively studying fantasy baseball statistics, plotting trades that will never happen
CREATING A ONE-PURPOSE TUMBLR BLOG (seriously, I did this today. WTF).

Procrastination. Lou Reed sang “Heroin… it’s my wife and it’s my life.” Well, I don’t do heroin, so I sing “procrastination.”

I’m replaying “Fallout 3” for the love of…

Maybe I can take solace in this: In order to put off the things I want to do and need to do, I’ve produced tens of thousands of words of text, two new web sites, and read a great book. I’ve gone to shows, called friends, and spent time with my family. I’ve done things I SHOULD do because I’m afraid to do the things I must do.

Ever read The War of Art? Dude is right. Procrastination is giving into resistance, and resistance is the enemy. Sometimes the enemy speaks logically, and appealingly, and has a good point. But it’s the enemy. I have to do the work. You have to do the work. We have to stare the work down and deal with the change and uncertainty. We have to do this OR we have to accept that we aren’t the people we say we are. If I don’t do the work, I’m not in theater. If I don’t do the work, I’m not a comic. I’m not a writer. I’m not meeting my professional responsibilities. I’m a fraud. All of those things are true IF I don’t do the work.

Eventually, I always do the work, and I do it at the expense of other essential things. The true cost of procrastination, if you must do the work, is paid from other accounts. My major account deficit is sleep, and in turn, health. It’s unwise.

Nicomachean Ethics has this section that says no man knowingly does wrong. That when a man acts incorrectly, it is because of an error of understanding, a belief that wrong action is actually correct action. Procrastination is my main objection to this theory. I have NEVER once believed that I was procrastinating virtuously. I’ve always known that it is fear, laziness, and self-doubt that drive it. There is no arguing that playing “Fallout 3″ is more virtuous than any of the things I’m putting off, and I would never try.

But procrastination bears fruit. This blog ain’t nothing. Christina’s power cord wasn’t going to document its own travels. V. is a novel you all ought to read. I regret none of those things. But if they’re positive marks in a ledger, I’m not sure they zero out the negatives of what’s being missed.

So, procrastination. That’s where we are. Time to post this, and get to work. Good night.