World Without End
Although I have always been the sort of person who gets his work done on time, and helps out whenever he can, and arrives five minutes early, I long believed that I was secretly lazy. All the assignments I met and promises I kept were met and kept primarily not to disappoint other people. Somehow, I thought, if other people could be taken out of the equation, I would do much less.
Laziness remains a stealthy threat to the writer. What if you should just decide to shirk for a day, or a week, or a month? You aren’t chained to the desk, after all, and for the writer still trying to break into the publishing world, there isn’t even anyone asking to see your work. Everyone has felt the desire to chuck some difficult task and go watch television. What if, in the end, that desire ultimately wins out?
Laziness, like so many criticisms, is greatly misunderstood. A person we call lazy is merely someone who is unmotivated. Some people are on a constant hunt for that thing that will motivate them. These people, when they are having trouble finding that motivating idea, will sometimes say they are bored. But the lazy person seems resistant into motivation itself. They would rather do nothing, it seems, than something.
And therein lies the half-truth. The lazy person would rather do nothing than something that does not interest him. Because perhaps, within that nothing, something interesting will appear. Except doing nothing can be worse than doing something you don’t like if you don’t do that nothing with purpose. If you want to do nothing, you must do it receptively, optimistically, enthusiastically. Then, indeed, something interesting will soon appear. Otherwise, the nothing you are doing only encourages your own disinterest in the world.
It reminds me of a useful writing trick. When you don’t know what to write, sometimes it’s helpful to write as quickly as you can. Much of what you write in this way will eventually be discarded, but more likely than not something will be kept. It will be kept because, once you allow yourself to begin anywhere, you move inevitably toward somewhere better, somewhere that interests you. It is almost impossible not to. It would be like asking a magnet not to lift a paperclip.
Anywhere can lead somewhere good. There are no dead ends, only the dead feelings that come from believing your interest in the world has ended.