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What I Have Done Recently Instead of Writing

I have discovered it is time for me to stop making excuses

I’ve been wound a little tightly lately. My mom’s hypothesis: I put too much pressure on myself to work on my own writing outside of work. And when I’m not being as productive as I think I should be, it makes me tense.

“I don’t know,” I said. “It’s probably just that I’m not getting laid.”

“No, that’s definitely not it,” mom said. “That’s been a thing for years.”

I told her I don’t feel like I have enough time to do all the things I want to do, like writing and working out. (Both of these things, when I do them, make me feel better.)

“So what have you been doing instead?” she asked. “Life can’t be too hectic that you can’t fit at least one of those in a day.”

So I made a list of what I have been doing instead. When I did, I realized it was time to stop making excuses. And that I should curb my pornography intake.

When I made this list, I realized it was time to stop making (so many) excuses. If you’re not putting as much time into your writing as you’d like, maybe making a list like this will help you, too.

  1. Spent about two cumulative hours cruising GrubHub for tasty treats. Effectively sampled hummus from every restaurant that offers it within a two-mile radius of my apartment. Also effectively spent the majority of my month’s freelance slush fund on Mediterranean cuisine. (About this one, I have no regrets.)

  2. Took down the first season of Everybody Loves Raymond in seventy-two hours.

  3. Spent an undetermined amount of time looking at pictures of ex-girlfriends and strangers in bikinis on Facebook.

  4. Hung holiday lights all over my bedroom, to set the writing mood. Discovered that I had also set up a great reading mood, and so I spent a couple hours reading things on the Internet and saying to myself things like “I could totally have written this.”

  5. Wrote a list of projects I’m working on or want to start on my dry erase board. Then got drunk and drew my initials in block letters. Experienced a brief moment of pride when I realized I had not once had the urge to draw a penis on the board.

  6. Walked to a friend’s place, and on the way took a short cut through a playground with a basketball court. Glanced around to make sure nobody was looking, and took a run at the hoop to see if I could still slap the backboard. (I can, but now my entire abdomen is torn.)

  7. Wrote and sent a sad amount of OKCupid messages, after revising them with the same care I take to revise a cover letter. Realized afterward I had written many of them with the same sort of formality as a cover letter, which will probably not yield positive results re: garnering positive responses.

  8. While my roommate was asleep on the couch, I changed the TV input to my Chromecast, turned the volume way up, went into my bedroom, and streamed porn from my computer. Loudly. He was so confused. Frightened and confused.

  9. Opened the latest issue of GQ and contemplated getting my hair cut like Justin Timberlake’s. Did this on eight separate occasions. Stared into the mirror each time, wondering if I could pull it off.

  10. Stood in front of my mirror and smiled at my reflection. I read somewhere that scientific studies indicate that this will ramp up your happiness.

  11. Sat down intending to write. Looked at porn instead after convincing myself I would write later. I watched more Everybody Loves Raymondinstead.

  12. Watched porn on another occasion. This time, I came across an actress who looked, in a way, similar to a woman I used to date. I watched for a while, not really sure what to do, put my junk away, turned off the porn, and wondered what the ex has been up to lately.

  13. Thought about what it might be like someday whenever I have a wife (lol) and not wanting to watch porn anymore, because it’ll feel like some kind of betrayal.

  14. Engaged in a discussion with my roommate about the pros and cons of paying for pornography when so much of it is freely available on the glorious, glorious Internet.

  15. Watched hockey while engaging in a family text thread where we talked a bunch of shit on assorted skating hosers and discussed the menu for Thanksgiving and shit like that.

  16. Nursed a couple migraines. Puked in my bedroom because of one of them. Lost a few days of productivity due to them.

  17. Wondered for about twenty minutes, cumulatively, about why somebody doesn’t just hand me an awesome writing job. I mean, I know I could do it. Why don’t they?

  18. Stayed in bed until two on a Saturday afternoon. Because I’m a grown ass man and can do whatever I want. Also I was having this dream where I hadn’t screwed everything up with my high school sweetheart, and I was determined to fall back asleep and back into the dream.

  19. Went to my first ever Friendsgiving and got shit hammered on red wine. I was spitting purple for like a week. Felt like Lil’ Wayne.

  20. Read various books by excellent writers and wondered if I will ever be able to write something anywhere near their level. Realized that I would not if I was not practicing writing regularly. Got too depressed to write.

  21. Went to a Mexican barber-shop to get a hair cut. It took the man almost thirty minutes because he was getting all weird with straight-end razors and shaving off my widow’s peak, which I had never experienced before. Then, he asked me if I wanted a shave and I blurted, “Yes way, José.” So he gave me one.

  22. Played my 10-year-old cousin in Words With Friends. Whipped his ass.

  23. Researched how to make a ramen burger. Then bought supplies and made some ramen burgers.

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