Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Which Is It?

ETA: I blew it. It's Tuesday, and I missed Stuff and Things. First time in months! Too late now, though, so on to today's post...

Does writing beget laziness, or does laziness beget writing?

It was yesterday (see previous post) that, when I was over-extending some under-used muscles and excreting a fair amount of elbow grease, this question came to mind. It was because I couldn't stop the internal whining...

Oh, why is this my job?

Does anyone understand how difficult this is?

I just want to be downstairs with my computer!

And then I thought...

What the heck is wrong with me?

I should be grateful for the chance to do such work. I should be thankful I'm physically capable of putting such effort into a project, and that I'll be able to reap the rewards later. I should welcome the chance to do something different, to make a change. Instead of complain about the energy I have to expend.

Really, I do projects like this so very infrequently. I can't remember the last time I worked so hard (motherhood aside). Am I lazy? Perhaps in some ways.

But writing calls for stillness. For sitting and being sedentary. It's what I'm used to; it's the level of energy I'm comfortable putting out. It's not draining or difficult - in a physical way - to write, other than your average sore tushie or crick in the neck.

So that made me wonder... Have I become lazy and sedentary because I'm drawn to the writer's life... or does the writer's life appeal to me because I'm lazy and sedentary? How do you think it works? Is it different for everyone?



*BIG thanks to my sister-in-law, who spent a good part of the day looking after the kidlets. I so appreciate it, Sara. Singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to entertain the girls is possible from a 16-foot scaffolding... but it gets old... Thanks for playing with the girls while I worked. You rock!

17 comments:

Terri Tiffany said...

I wish I had that kind of project to get into now. I find when I do them, it releases my brain to think fresh and I love the feel of knowing I can undertake something like that still --at my age! Plus the pride and joy when it is finished is a wonderful feeling. Keep at it and remember we are waiting to see the final results!

Jenna said...

Definitely different for everyone. I'm drawn to writing and super physically exhausting activities. In fact some of my best stuff comes to me when I'm running hard--for me there's just something about exhausting the physical the opens the mental.

Some of my favorite accomplishments have been NaNo, which was a lot of butt-in-chair writing time, and the two 12 hour adventure races I did (a back woods race where we did 9+ miles on foot, 12+ miles in a canoe and probably close to 40 miles on bike--I ached for days).

Angie Ledbetter said...

I think it's an individual thing too. I am super duper busy in my life, so enjoy the quiet writing times even more because they've always been so rare. The physically hard work of a big project is different than a writing "product" maybe because it takes so much longer to see results. Plus there's no delete of cut & paste buttons to use. :)

thedomesticfringe said...

I could sit in my pajamas in front of the computer all day. :) Ya, I'm lazy.

Travis Erwin said...

Not sure the order, but too would prefer to laze away my days typing on the computer.

Janna Qualman said...

Terri - I do know what you mean about that. I like monotonous jobs that don't take too much thought, so I can work things out in my mind. Painting is definitely good for that!

Jenna - You.amaze.me. Wow, girlie! I can't even hold a candle to you - what endurance and drive you must have! Not to mention body! ;)

Angie - Maybe that's true; that the effort bringing forth a slower-coming and different kind of reward is what's toughest on me.

df - We could be twinkies (my family's word for twins), really. :)

Travis - Aaahhh, that sounds so nice... :)

Melissa Marsh said...

Hmm. I must admit, I would much rather sit and write than go do anything with physical exertion. BUT, that being said, I do love putting in a hard day's physical labor every once in awhile.

The thing is, I can get quite mentally and physically exhauted just from sitting in front of a computer all day (since that is my day job).

Rachel Burton said...

I'm with domesticfringe on this; I have vert comfortable pjs. It's a good thing I picked a blog topic that forces me to get out and explore! But too many days of sitting and typing eventually drives me a litle batty so I try to work in yoga and exercise (although i fail in that area quite often!).

Melanie Avila said...

I can sympathize. I spend a lot of time on my tush and the physical projects seem to really wipe me out. It sounds like you changed your grumbling to a more positive outlook. :) I like the occasional change in the schedule because it makes me appreciate the "still" days.

Joanne said...

The good thing about working on a project like your living room project is that it affords you a big block of time to ruminate and chew on and think about your writing while you paint, stain, etc. Takes you away from the computer and lets you come at your work from a different angle. I find I always get great ideas/insights in situations like that.

Barbara said...

I get so involved in my writing that I have to force myself to move. Moving around is good. Our bodies were made for work. I definitely sit too much!!

Janna Qualman said...

Melissa - Yeah, I'm starting to ease into the physical labor with the mindset that I can relish my quiet and still writing later...

Rachel - I'm the same way. Even if I start some excercise plan, it doesn't take long before it falls to the wayside.

Melanie - See what I told Melissa. :D

Joanne - You're right! It's the perfect oppportunity to brainstorm!

Barbara - That should be my mantra: Our bodies were made to work. Thanks! :)

Turkey Lurkey said...

I understand. If only there was some way to do both. Maybe a day will come when we can dictate a story to a computer while painting.

Melanie Avila said...

Turkey there is! Aaron Crocco has dictation software and talks about it on his blog. Janna I think we've found your solution, you'll just have to edit out the screams and laughter from your girls. :)

Lindsay said...

I prefer to call it knowing what you're good at and outsourcing the rest. ;) I was in the army, so I've done my fair share of grunt labor.

Now I prefer to sit at my computer and type away while strong studly types mow my lawn and clean my house.

Janna Qualman said...

LOL, Lindsay! I like the way you think. :) And thanks for stopping by my blog!

Jen said...

I know what you mean, Janna. I wonder about that sometimes myself, but then I realize how much satisfaction I get out of good old fashioned hard, physical work, and I realize that really, I think I need a little bit of both in order to appreciate the work involved and reap the rewards of both types of work.

Sticktoitiveness is something all writers need in spades, I think, and sometimes we underestimate how much commitment and work it takes to actually do it, because the results aren't always tangibly successful, kwim? Or successful in more measurable ways that others can relate to (like snagging an agent or a publishing deal). The work itself is sometimes it's own reward, and I guess that's why it sometimes seems like laziness to engage in it instead of something else more "productive".