Yes. I excel in procrastination. So when I was packing a few weeks ago for my Caribbean vacation I thought I should pack my plays so I can get moving on those rewrites. On the beach. I’ve done it before after all and yeah…the plays fail to leave my hotel room (or my luggage) and then I get annoyed at myself for procrastinating and then eventually I torture myself enough to get some writing done when I return so NO! Not this time. This time, I made a conscious decision to put off productivity and enjoy myself. A procrastination vacation if you will.
I did not pack any of my plays, I did not bring a journal, I did not bring a notebook. I did bring several trashy magazines and a book that I never opened. I was not productive. Most importantly? I didn’t feel guilty about it.
What did I do?
I sat on the beach, in the shade. I watched the ocean, listened to the ocean, walked to the pool, swam in the ocean, swam in the pool, saw a dolphin and then did it all again.
I stayed at a resort and I met artists. We seem to find each other don’t we? Writers, painters, musicians, potters, quilters and film makers. We talked about art, process and procrastination.
I made a commitment to a meditation workshop that was held at the resort every day. I learned to watch my thoughts just like I watched the boats on the ocean sail and float by, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly and to enjoy them, be ok with them. I learned that I am not my thoughts any more than I am the boats sailing on the water. That beneath the thought was what mattered. The ocean underneath the boat.
The teacher urged us to be patient, curious, not to take anything personally and to stop trying to look good. Good advice for anyone. Especially not trying to look good. Risks are not always attractive are they….but they are thrilling…life affirming. Good, productive advice for an artist. A playwright.
So let’s see….I rested. I met artists, I enjoyed nature. I nourished my soul. I procrastinated. I was not productive. Or so I thought. Turns out resting, talking, enjoying myself are important. Productive even. In fact, they are just as important as my rewrites, readings and rehearsals. I was productive and didn't know it.
I’m home now and as I gaze at my full calendar to see what lies ahead, I see a day that says “do nothing”. And I won’t. And it will be productive.
Is this all a giant rationalization to justify procrastination? Maybe. I'll think about it tomorrow.