by Barbara D'Amato
From my living room window, I can look out at Lake Michigan. In many ways this is very, very nice. I enjoy seeing the clouds and seagulls. The colors of Lake Michigan change as the sun moves. It’s never the same and always interesting.
However, I also see people jogging, rollerblading, racing, power-walking, and bicycling on the esplanade. And swimming until a week or so ago. Whether I’ve been slothful, hanging around the house, or have just come in from a two-mile walk, watching them makes me feel lazy.
I realize the ones I saw jogging or bicycling this morning are not the same ones running, rollerblading, or skateboarding at noon or in the evening—or if they are, they’re nuts. But they make me feel like a lazy slob, whoever they are.
The same thing happens with writing.
I asked one of my writing friends some years ago whether she subscribed to Publishers Weekly. She said, “Absolutely not! All those reviews would make me feel I wasn’t working fast enough.”
I have other writing friends who say either that they never read online reviews, writers' gossip sites, or other sites about new books that have come out, or that they read them only right after they’ve sent their book to their publisher.
When I read review publications, it seems like everyone in the world has a new book out. I should be working faster, working harder, working smarter. Even bookstores, which I love, make me feel like a lazy slob. They are a reproach to me.
Why am I still on page 129? I’ve been on 129 for three days.
Why did I just waste half an hour playing two games of computer crossword? Why do I keep going to the anacrostic site when I should be writing? Why did anybody invent online jigsaw puzzles?
Do you writers out there feel the same?
I should get to work right now. But maybe just a short round of drop quotes to wind down.