Hurry Up and Wait


It’s the first official day of the week of Spring Break. There are a lot of fun things I could be doing, including working on my new book, Salome’s Charger, which is being adeptly co-authored by Celeste Perrino-Walker. I could even be playing Lord of the Rings Online, or watching another rerun of Glee.

Instead, I am sitting by my dining room window, waiting for workers to come and take out my back yard fence and replace it with a new one. The plan was for them to show up first thing this morning, but here it is, close to 10 and I am still waiting. Hmm.

At the same time, I am thiiiis close to finishing my taxes. All I need (not counting a chunk of cash for the IRS) is my statement from Wal-Mart Pharmacy stating how much I paid for prescriptions in 2014. That’s it.

But the workers aren’t here, and the pharmacy isn’t open yet, so I am killing time in the meanwhile. I could be using my time doing something constructive, but my mind is elsewhere, and so my body stays put.

It’s kind of the way we often deal with writing. We write something–our best article ever, or the Great American Novel–and then we sit back and wait. And wait. And wait some more. It’s kind of like applying for a job. I tell my students, “It always takes three times as long as you think it should.” And that’s often the truth.

The moral in all this is simply: Move on. Sitting and waiting will drive you crazy, and you’re wasting time in the meanwhile. If you’ve written a book, good for you. Now write the next one. Focusing on the next project keeps you productive, makes the time go faster, and keeps you from doing something crazy, like writing a nasty letter (which I did to a potential employer once upon a time. OK, I’m not proud of it.) to someone who holds your future in their hands.

So tell yourself it’s time to move on. In the meantime, I need to call my fence builders and see if they will show up today–or this year.

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