“All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”— George Orwell
They say admitting that you have a problem is half the battle, right? So here goes: my name is Wendy Tokunaga and I am a lazy ass writer. I haven’t always been a lazy ass writer. In fact, I have always been rather proud of my work ethic when it comes to writing. You could always count on me to be the one to cheerily encourage fellow writers to be productive, to tell them to find any bit of free time to write and, yes, to finish-finish-finish. And, heck, I’ve written a good five or six novels and an MFA dissertation. After all, it’s not like I haven’t taken my own advice.
But the truth is that I’ve been neglecting my latest WIP, having undergone a serious bout of stuckness over the past couple of years that I’ve been working on it off and on. I honestly like the book and I don’t want to work on something new (not that I have ANY ideas for another novel, mind you). I have a good 46,000 words but I’m not sure how the story should end nor how things will wrap up. And I know there are still things to add. This is kind of scary. So I procrastinate.
I have several people who are willing to read the draft and I promised them that it would be ready to go sometime in early July. My thinking was that if I gave myself a deadline, then I would finish. Usually this would work, but it’s not working at all right now. And lo and behold, it’s already early July and I haven’t even looked at the thing for probably two weeks. Maybe three. I’ve been busy with other stuff—editing clients, a student manuscript tutorial, songwriting with my husband, tweeting, Facebooking, cleaning out the litter box. But this is no excuse.
I even felt lazy about writing this blog post. But when I did research about “lazy writers” I found that most of the hits I received weren’t about my predicament, but about writers who employ lazy “writing skills.” Things like not proofreading or doing minimal research, not staying on top of current trends, telling instead of showing, relying on clichés, employing hackneyed plots, utilizing poor grammar, misspelling words, constantly using pet phrases, etc., etc. And I realized, well, at least I’m not THAT kind of lazy writer. Something to be proud of. I think.
So maybe I should just stop feeling guilty. I’ll get to this novel when the time is right. Yes, I’ll finish it—eventually. In the meantime I’ll just go with the flow. I’ll embrace all the girlfriends here and elsewhere who are in prolific phases right now (and that seems to be just about everyone!) and know that I’ll be there again someday.
But now I think I’ll loll in the hammock and sip some lemonade. Or maybe a mojito. Or perhaps a chilled glass of Viognier, and simply get back to writing when the time is right.
So will you girlfriends give me permission to be a little lazy?
Thanking you in advance,
---The Lazy Ass Writer
Wendy Nelson Tokunaga is the author of the novels, " and (both published by St. Martin's Press), and the e-book novels, and and e-book short story, She's also the author of the nonfiction e-book, Her short story "Love Right on the Yesterday" appears in the anthology published by Stone Bridge Press, and her essay "Burning Up" is included in "Wendy holds an MFA in Creative Writing from University of San Francisco and teaches for Stanford University's Online Writer's Studio Novel Certificate Program. She also does private manuscript consulting for novels and memoirs. Follow her on Twitter at @Wendy_Tokunaga, friend her on and visit her website at: www.WendyTokunaga.com