Indecision, Not Procrastination

I hadn’t realized the effect indecision had on my writing until I read a passage in William Wordsworth’s The Prelude earlier today. Having chosen to discuss Chris Abani’s Song for Night in my first blog, I began with a general idea, nothing too precise, and assumed that the text would be easy to analyze. After all, it had been a quick and enjoyable read. However, what should have been an easy analysis somehow became a major challenge in decision-making: do I write about the confusion of adolescence amplified by civil war, or do I address the issues of politics and post colonialism? Maybe I should write about love, religion, spirituality, Greek mythology, character development, or even structure,  all issues addressed by the text.

My first blog was to be monumental; I wanted to make it outstanding. So, I put off writing it until I could decide upon something that would represent both the text and me. A few hours of indecision quickly turned into a day, yet I remained confident that I would eventually figure it out. Then the day gave way to a week, and before I knew it, I had completely lost track of time. It wasn’t that I was procrastinating, for it was always on my mind; I thought about it while I did the dishes, read other works, watched movies, walked in the park, but I eventually started to doubt myself. What if I had nothing interesting to say?

"locks every function up in blank reserve"-Wordsworth

Until I read Wordsworth’s The Prelude, I didn’t understand that the difficulty was created by me wanting to say too much. I was blocking my creativity with indecision. It was The Prelude, a centuries old text, which assured me that I wasn’t alone. When Wordsworth writes of his indecision in the 18th and 19th centuries, he talks about being unable to decide whether to write a Romance, a History, praises to “high-souled” ordinary men, or simply “invent a tale from [his] own heart.” I found that I could relate and even  appreciate the fact that he doesn’t immediately conquer and overcome his indecision. He instead comforts himself with the hope that “mellower years will bring a riper mind/And clearer insight,” and in doing so, he suggests that indecision isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Maybe it’s simply a mental process, the way one figures things out. If that is the case, then one shouldn’t be too hard on oneself if one cannot instantly decide what to write about. An active mind and imagination are a writer’s most basic and important tools.

I was only reading The Prelude in preparation for the MA exam, but I came to realize that this is precisely what makes the text still relevant today; Wordsworth offers invaluable insight into the craft of writing and the mind of the writer. So, Be patient with yourself no matter what decision you’re trying to make right now. Trust that you will eventually figure it out, but keep in mind you may have to wait for “mellower years.”

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16 Comments

  1. Alan King said,

    June 28, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    Great first post! I still deal with indecision. That’s what takes me a while to put content up on my blog. But I’ve only been at this for almost a year now–still trying to get the hang of this thing. Maybe I’ll get better at it in my “mellower years.” But I’m glad to see you blogging. Keep it up! :)

    • AphroditeAres said,

      June 28, 2010 at 10:59 PM

      Thanks, Alan. Your kind words mean a lot. I’ll keep at it.

  2. Sammy said,

    June 29, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    Nice to see that you were able to decide. I really like your first post it really had me thinking since I am very indecisive. I think that deep down we really know what we want , but it may be the fear of failure that makes us indecisive, at least that’s what I tell myself. Looking forward to reading your blog.

  3. Camille said,

    June 30, 2010 at 7:15 AM

    Ah yes, this plagues all writers! I experienced it yesterday when I FINALLY wrote my first poem that I will perform at a spoken word event. It took me 6 hours to finish, but I just followed the tried and true method…write what you know.

    • AphroditeAres said,

      July 6, 2010 at 11:28 AM

      Let me know how the spoken word gig went, and know that I would love to read some of your poetry.
      Happy to know you’re back writing cratively. Your writing is what I remember about you most. So, keep at it, darling and don’t be stingy:)

  4. Loverly Jn Paul-Sroda said,

    July 3, 2010 at 2:36 AM

    WOW! The power of collective energies! I needed to read this! Great piece, well said and written! As a writer indecision is ongoing, it almost seems like being indecisive is a writer´s trait, perhaps it is needed. I am happy you started this blog, know matter what keep writing-always!:)

    • AphroditeAres said,

      July 6, 2010 at 11:23 AM

      Thanks Loverly,
      Happy you can relate, and yes, I’m starting to believe it is a writer’s trait.
      It’s actually a reief to know that I’m happy I’m not the only one who goes through this.

  5. Greg said,

    July 9, 2010 at 11:17 PM

    Very nice and very comforting!

  6. Kim said,

    July 13, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    Hi Cousin,

    Nice first blog! I’m quite impressed. I can see you are going full force ahead. Keep up the good work and remember you have some very strong women behind you. Smile! One love!.

    • Natalie said,

      July 16, 2010 at 10:41 AM

      Thanks for being one of those strong women, Kim. Your support means a lot to me.

      • Roxanna said,

        May 14, 2017 at 9:20 AM

        Gostei muito do seu blog, tem um template exemplar e criatividade em suas postagens está de parabéns, se tiver um tempinho de uma puladinha em wwrdavwieda.es1.com um grade abraço de seu novo admirador brasileiro Eduardo Targa

  7. CDeMarcus said,

    July 19, 2010 at 7:27 AM

    Natalie,

    I very much enjoyed this thoughtful piece. Good work!

  8. victor ohiri said,

    August 7, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    well,..reaction is a factor of the mind,..action is the expression of it…most times, some actions are called for.
    You have found your calling Nat…always remember everytime u put that pen on paper that inspiration comes from the mind…..be spontaneaous…

  9. Natalie said,

    August 25, 2010 at 10:34 PM

    Thanks, Victor!

  10. March 3, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up fast!

    What web host are you using? Can I get your
    affiliate link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as
    fast as yours lol

  11. rattan sofas said,

    August 7, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Everything published made a bunch of sense. However, what about this?
    suppose you added a little content? I ain’t suggesting your content isn’t solid,
    however what if you added a post title to possibly grab a person’s attention? I mean Indecision, Not Procrastination | AphroditeAres’ Blog is a little boring.
    You ought to glance at Yahoo’s home page and watch how they create article titles to get people to open the links. You might try adding a video or a pic or two to get readers interested about what you’ve got to say.

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