Write what you know, they say… great advice for the world traveler, for the adventurer whose every day is filed with new opportunities and activity. If what you know is the beauty of a French countryside, or the grittiness of an urban jungle, the stories are everywhere. New people, new places, they all come with a tale, ready for the writer to find and tell.
In my head (or is it my heart?), I am an adventuress. I stalk lions in Kenya, drink wine in Tuscany, and create theater in impoverished villages. My energy fills vacuums in my dreams, and restores dreams to the hopeless. I live and love in this alternate universe with a passion that is so magnetic that it pulls everyone in and charges them with my spirit and strength.
But out here, in this real world, I am not a daredevil – my name is Paula, and I am a dilly-dallier.
This is what I know, my undeniable talent. To take a 24-hour day and make mincemeat of nearly every precious second is my gift. While others work, I dilly; as they move forward, I dally. It hit me over the head the other day when someone who also writes resume told me she was doing four that day. I had one on my to do list. It was around 11 a.m.
In what seemed like a very short time later, she messaged me. “One down!” I looked away from the website I was browsing just long enough to read her note. A short time later, another one. “Halfway there!” This time I looked up in surprise at the clock – what had I been doing??? I had maybe a paragraph more written, but absolutely no momentum going. By the time she was letting me know that she had just 1 more to go, we were in exactly the same spot. She had done 3 times the work, while I sat and….? That’s the thing about dilly-dallying. Unlike other diversions, there’s nothing to show for it. In fact, if you produce anything at all, it’s probably something else altogether.
I believe in taking pride in what you do, so I’m trying to embrace this newly named talent – at the end of the day, when I’ve accomplished half of what I set out to do, I know that I have fulfilled my dilly-dallying quota for that 24 hours. While others toil, I turn on One Life to Live, so that I can be sure to see which Todd is REALLY Todd before I read the truth online. As the world gets its assignments done, I take a half-hour to think about, get dressed for, then decide there’s no time for, the walk I was going to take every day. Every action is stretched out to its most absurd limits, until I am left at the end of the day looking around thinking, “What just happened here?”
Each morning, I ponder doing things differently. THIS will be the day I get work done before 11 p.m. TODAY is when I start crossing things off the To do List. RIGHT NOW is when I get started. And this new-found discipline will kick-start a whole different kind of living, more time to be creative, and ultimately lead to my long-percolating novel/play/haiku.
Of course, this very post took me 4 days from conception to delivery. For now, the dilly-dallier remains undefeated…