Worth the wait?

I’m not going to write about gardening or vacation for the simple reason that I’m not Brian. He’s off on a road trip, buying walnut bowls and magnets at truck stops or something. I’m Kat, the arts editor, and I’m writing this on Sunday morning in between writing an upcoming cover story.

When I was younger, I imagined my life as a writer. It looked something like me in a room, light softly coming in from the window, coffee cup on desk, maybe some Miles Davis or Mozart to get the creative juices aligned in my brain. The words would flow rather effortlessly because I would be clear-headed and focused.

Now that I’m actually doing the writing thing, the coffee cup is on the desk, sun is kind of coming through the window, and Miles is, in fact, playing in the background. But there’s this whole other thing I didn’t expect—procrastination.

It looks like healthy walks or picking at my split ends or calling my mom or cleaning, but there’s no mistaking it, it’s procrastination. And that which I thought would be done by noon, doesn’t get started until about that time.

Once I settle down, it generally flows out and even has elatory moments. I think, ‘Why did that have to take so long?” And yet it happens every month, when it’s time to write a cover story.

I wonder, if it happens every time—and not just to me, but to many people trying to withhold the inevitable—is there some innately human, perhaps even evolutionary reason for procrastination?

Grant the Boyfriend thinks that back in the hunter-gatherer days, there was no time for procrastination—if you wait, you die. Procrastination comes with an easier life. He also thinks procrastination means you don’t love your work. I disagree there because every writer I know struggles with procrastination, and yet they rarely want to be anything else.

Maybe it shouldn’t be called “procrastinating” because I’m working in my head. I’ve written some of my best leads while scrubbing the toilet.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts. What good is it? And is it procrastination or just using the most time available to get it right?