I have 35 minutes until my food settles enough that I can go for a run. I want to write. I want to write up one of the ideas on my (very short) list of ideas. The list is only three items long. Any one of the items on it would do.
Yet. I can’t make myself start. I look at the list. I journal instead. I read books about writing. I try to think of more ideas. I think, “Maybe I’ll meditate first.” I worry, “I’ll probably get inspired on my run and then I won’t be able to write because I’ll need to start my workday.”
I could just pick an idea and get going on it. Say, okay, I’m going to do this. I’ll set a timer and go. But I know myself. When it comes to writing for pleasure, if I force it, nothing comes out right.
I know procrastination can be good. It gives the mind time to percolate. I’m reading Deep Work right now, and in it there’s a section on the necessity of downtime to be productive. The author advises that some things will come out better if they’re sorted unconsciously rather than consciously. That it’s okay to get your mind going on an idea, then step back. The idea might need a break from direct attention so your brain can make connections quietly behind the scenes.
I tell myself that’s what I’m doing now. I want to write about going from a place of time scarcity to a place of time affluence. I worked with a coach on this and have built habits that have stuck.
Yet, suddenly a textbook for an English composition course is endlessly fascinating, and I’m struck by how much I love to read about writing, and I’ve written two journal entries and transcribed pages from my diary, and I’m thinking about looking up the reference for why it’s good to procrastinate, and I started a notebook of ideas somewhere, I should go find that.
And look, now it’s time for my run.