Procrastination is the mortal enemy of anyone who must hold themselves accountable. Not always just the college students well known for procrastination, it can also affect people who are self-employed, artists and, of course, writers
The source of the problem always comes down to one concept: The idea that there will always be time to do it later. No matter what it is you’re trying to do, there’s always a few minutes later in the day, an hour later in the week, a weekend you can use to catch up. As unlikely of a source as it may be, a rather profound quote can be found in an episode of SpongeBob. Ever the chipper go-getter, SpongeBob repeats the old phrase “Don’t put off to tomorrow what can be done today” – Which is a wise, if annoying, saying. Of course, Squidward counters with a question: “What is today but yesterday’s tomorrow?”
We put things off without knowing we’re even doing it, sometimes, and when we do that, it becomes easy to let things slip out of conscious thought. And if we don’t think of them, they definitely won’t get done.
Honestly, that’s a very roundabout way of getting to the subject. In some ways it’s ironic, because even in writing this, I’m managing to put off actually talking about what I intended to speak of. It’s not an easy subject, though it’s one I’ve been asked to write about many times. I couldn’t tell you why people want to hear it, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to decide whether I should actually speak about it or not.
I’m often asked what made me start pursuing writing as a serious goal. I’d been writing for years, after all, never with the thought of actually finishing and publishing something as a clear goal on the horizon. Something changed to make me write Death of the Sun and self-publish it, though it’s hardly the invigorating motivational tale I wish I could tell.
The writing and subsequent self-publication of the book came as part of what I had to do to regain my strength and a handle on my life during a time of grief and mourning. I’ve mentioned only in passing before that my husband and I almost had children before the little girl that lays in my arms now, but it’s not really something to wax poetic about – It was a terrible thing, a devastating loss and a very deep hurt that will never really heal.
Loss of children is something society skirts around because they don’t know how to handle it. Children are everything good in life, a perfect picture of vigor, strength and wellness. It’s even worse when the children lost are ones that have never been in your arms. It’s not easier to lose a baby before they’re born. They’re still a part of your heart and your soul, a vital piece of you that defines the shape of your life and the shape of you as a person. They’re hope and joy and a promise for the future. Eager dreams and plans and fantasies of lacy dresses or little cowboy boots.
I’ll never forget sitting in the hospital a week after losing my baby, crying until I couldn’t breathe after I learned there was a second, and I’d lost that one, too. But the weeks afterward are still a blur. An unhappy haze of days where the only reason I had to keep going was that I had a job, and I liked my coworkers too much to place stress on them by not showing up.
After a few months, I sat down to write. I sat down to write a joke and it became something else. A different thing to focus on. A story that started as a joke, but became something else – A story of hope for change, a story of personal growth, a story with undertones of a chance for a fulfilling life that could come after losing a loved one.
I completed a book, no longer because it was my dream to be a writer, but because I desperately needed something to do that had merit and value and put meaning back into a life that was nothing but empty arms and a nursery I couldn’t bear to walk into. I completed it because really, the idea of having time to do things later is foolish – You never know how much time you’ll have. For my twins, the time they were given wasn’t even enough for me to have a chance to hold them.
You see, really, time is a perception we’ve created for ourselves. It doesn’t exist, so how can you have it? You measure it by moments you fill with meaning, by memories you make with how you use it. But while you can never have more, you can always have less. Fewer instants that etch themselves upon your mind and heart. Fewer memories of accomplishment and laughter. Fewer reflections of happiness for indulging yourself in the things you really love, that really matter. And that’s why you should never put anything off.
What you don’t do now may never be done. You don’t have time. Time is a myth.