what are you not doing?

Writing…is a sordid beast that feeds on your pride and vomits only exhaustion and self-loathing.  – Alex Vance, found via the most excellent Brain Pickings

It’s kind of amusing when you choose to procrastinate by reading twitter, which leads you to an essay by a writer on the two basic species of that particular craft. Specifically:

The difference between a Not Writer and a Writer is the difference between someone who could write and someone who does. A Not Writer is someone who experiences blocks and obstacles and timing issues and lets them prevent him or her from actually writing. A Not Writer may certainly be creative, insightful and capable of writing lyrical prose, but most of the time they’re too busy Not Writing to get any Writing done. That’s such a shame, such a waste, and that’s the reason I so often deploy Tough Love upon those who ask for advice.

It’s like all of Steven Pressfield’s advice pressed into a nutshell, and if you have any aspirations towards being a writer, I do not suggest you read the multi-part essay that Mr. Vance has written. If you have any aspirations towards being a writer, in fact, what I suggest you do is STOP SURFING THE INTERNET AND WRITE.

On the other hand, if you just want to read about writing, they’re very entertaining, insightful, and even funny. But the question is: why limit it to writing?

Overworked and Underdone

To misquote a fun game from Comedy Sportz, what are you Not Doing right now? What is that thing that you keep saying you’re going to do, that you think about doing, but that you keep being busy Not Doing? It’s another way of saying: What’s your excuse? It’s not a pleasant thought, either, because you basically have to face a cold equation:

If I’m Not Doing that thing I want to Do, than is what I am Doing more important?

No idea if this is true. But it's comforting.
No idea if this is true. But it’s comforting.

It’s entirely possible that it is! Raising children, feeding the dog, caring for your family, watching the next Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., these are things that definitely can be a priority over that thing you’re Not Doing. And it’s also quite true that just because you’re Not Doing it now, you won’t Do it later. Procrastination is not a sin, it is a productivity strategy.

However, allow me to suggest that if you are Doing something that is so important that it makes you Not Do something else – make sure you Do it well. Make sure you Do it with your complete attention, so that you can get it Done as soon as possible.

Because you need to stop Not Doing that thing you want to Do before time gets Done with you.

You could also do worse than to check out some of the articles of Mr. Money Mustache, as long as your Not Doing anything else.

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