On Life and Love

Getting things done: choices

Months ago, Elf Sternberg quoted Scott Westerfield who quoted Raymond Chandler as saying,

[T]here should be a space of time, say four hours a day at least, when a professional writer doesn’t do anything else but write. He doesn’t have to write, and if he doesn’t feel like it, he shouldn’t try. He can look out of the window or stand on his head or writhe on the floor. But he is not to do any other positive thing, not read, write letters, glance at magazines, or write checks. Write or nothing.

Whether it’s writing, classwork, or drawing, it comes down to the same thing. I found myself floundering just last night, wheeling and dealing with myself: I’d ‘promise’ to get up early and work, just so I could relax now and get some sleep. But I knew I wasn’t likely to actually get up early. Bargaining took up time in which I wasn’t working or relaxing. Sitting around thinking about doing it doesn’t get it done. It doesn’t even (in this case) make creative advances. It just ups the stress.

Finally, it came down to a choice: am I going to work, or not? I finally just opened LyX, opened the relevant research paper, and just looked at it. Here it was. There was nothing else to do.

And I did it. Two hours of research went easily, quickly, and painlessly once I got into it. Same with cleaning my kitchen that night (some of Korn’s Untouchables got me through that). I didn’t even miss the sleep all that much in the morning.

I feel like right now my home is mired in wheeling and dealing and bargaining with fading willpowers and nothing is getting done. Not just the important stuff is slipping. Everything is.

I’m tired of it. I can’t fix anyone else, but I can choose what I’ll do and make what I want to happen happen. I’m 22; I have plenty of energy to spare.


  • wedge_deston

    I think I might be going through the same thing. I can do anything except work on my homework. It must be the approaching graduation.