Here’s my video response to the challenge, 30 seconds to impress. I don’t know if I’ve impressed anyone, but it was a fun thing to try making.
Beyond the point I make in this video is that I’ve come to embrace procrastination as part and parcel of the writing process. My meditation practice has revealed some things about procrastination that are actually worth thinking about.
What do I actually do when I procrastinate? Usually, I’m going over writing scenarios in my mind.
Sometimes I’ll waste time on social media. Of course, these days, I’m writing about an issue, racism and bigotry, that I get to study when I look at social media. I follow very few cat video people, and I’ve long-since blocked or unfollowed people and pages consistently full of drivel.
Other times, I’ll procrastinate by listening to music or—I mean this sincerely—by grading student work. It’s easy to say, “I have work to do that pays me money,” when in truth I’ll turn to grading because it’s a careful means to help me avoid some crucial decision or difficult moment my writing is about to reveal.
That’s the most common reason I procrastinate. It’s because my writing is about to show itself to me, and that’s often a terrible moment. What if it sucks? You come face to face with yourself in your writing. If that frightens me more than news about our narcissist president, his unfortunate followers or the general decline of our culture and collapse of our values, I know I’m onto something.
Procrastination, then, is a teacher.