Writers have an obsession with productivity. A day not writing is a day wasted.
In “The Midnight Disease,” Alice Weaver Flaherty, discusses the burden of guilt writers face.
Artists of other stripes are permitted fallow periods to recharge their creative juices. But writers beat themselves up when they go a day or two (or OH-MY-GOD-THE-WORLD-IS-ENDING!) a week without writing.
I’m currently wading out on the far side of a fallow period (reinforced by my overwhelming schedule at my other “bringing-home-the-bacon” job). This lazy period has compelled me to share my secrets with you, so that you too, can embrace the lazy life.
I was blessed to be born into lazy family. Sleeping 20 hours a day, and “vegetating” the remaining 4, is a skill passed from one generation to another. But although I was born with a genetic gift for laziness, I have also worked hard develop my gift through years of arduous immobility.
Here’s what you need to know:
Ensure you’re suitably attired for your laziness. Acceptable lounge-wear includes yoga pants, sweats, pajamas, bathrobes, beach dresses, and baggy sweaters.
Bras, socks, underwear, and shoes are optional, but highly discouraged.
Prep your lounging area. A couch or recliner is ideal, although a good case can be made for the floor or a bed, provided there is a sufficient number of pillows. A chaise longue is also acceptable. In a pinch, a park bench or the back seat of a car will do.
Pillows – You’ll want a minimum of 3 pillows for comfort. 6 to 8 is ideal. Make sure they’re full and fluffy.
Blankets – The standard ziggy-zaggy family Afghan is a favorite, but I’m partial to anything goose-down.
Snacks – You’re gonna be here awhile. Make sure you have an ample supply and a wide variety or food you can mindlessly shove in your mouth. Salty treats are preferred.
Remote (with fresh batteries) – Know where this is at all times. NOTHING destroys a good laze like having to deconstruct your nest to find the remote. If you hafta summon that amount of effort, you might as well be working.
Phone – If you wish to be contactable. (This is by no means required)
Lip balm – This is a crucial, yet oft overlooked laziness must-have.
Before you begin, you may also wish to map your route to the bathroom. Using the bathroom is the only acceptable reason to rise. Visitors should be roundly ignored. House-fires will most likely get the attention of your local fire department well before you need be involved.
Note: It’s entirely possible that, during your fallow, lazy period, you will notice other people walking around, talking, and eating inside your home. These are your family. It’s very unlikely that they will recognize you, since they’re used to seeing you hunched over a manuscript, talking to yourself like a lunatic. Should they recognize you and attempt to reconnect with you, permit them to do so. Loved ones make excellent pillows. They often also can be induced to perform small, but necessary tasks, such as fetching additional snacks or scooting the remote closer.
The Homer – The most upright of positions. Sit on the couch with a beer in one hand. This position is ideal for alert television watching.
The Anti-Plank – A great position for beginners. Simply put your body on the couch and strive for complete horizontal inertia.
The Andy Cap – Best for napping or day-dreaming when others are present. Turn your back on the room, facing the wall or the back of the couch. It sends a clear signal, “I’m ignoring you!”
The Bat – Perfect when part of your body starts to go numb from decreased blood flow. Lie down on the couch or chair and swing your legs over the back. Allow your head to hang off the couch. Stretch your hair. Doesn’t that feel nice?
Don’t try to push yourself too hard too soon. Remember, the world’s laziest people spend years building up their skill set.
Let go of all those little things you know you should be doing. The laundry ain’t going anywhere. The dishes will get washed when someone gets hungry enough. Enjoy your laziness. (I recommend making a laziness playlist, for those moments when an overwhelming urge to do Something arise. Staples include Otis Reding’s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” and the Beatles, “I’m Only Sleeping”).
You will most likely be drawn to the gadgets and activities that make being lazy easy: your phone, your television, Facebook, etc. However, these can actually negate your laziness by tricking you into doing Something.
Take time to alternate your lazy activities. Include such lazy staples as doodling, napping, day-dreaming, thumbing through magazines, and listening to old songs you haven’t heard in years. This will ensure that your laziness doesn’t spread to your autonomic system and trigger catatonia.
As a writer, you will be tempted to pick TV shows that contain dynamic characters and riveting plot lines. This is an acceptable form of laziness, provided you DO NOT engage in analyzing or socially critiquing the show. No Moleskines allowed.
Do not underestimate the energy-sucking power of reality television and game shows. A single episode of Price is Right can bring on a torpor that lasts for several hours.
Know Your Zones
Laziness Zone #1: Anything you can reach without moving any part of your torso at all. The remote, your snacks, and your lip balm should all be positioned within this zone.
Laziness Zone #2: Anything that requires to you reach, stretch, roll over, sit forward, or raise yourself onto one elbow in order to reach it. Items in Zone #1 will inevitably try to migrate to Zone #2. You must be vigilant to prevent this from happening.
Laziness Zone #3: Anything you would have to get up in order to reach. This is the least desirable of the laziness zones. It might as well be on the moon.
Follow the simple steps listed above, and you too can, with time, and non-effort, become the embodiment of laziness.
WARNING: Before altering any writing routine or changing your creative activity patterns, you should always consult with your work in progress. This laziness program contains advanced techniques. Attempting these techniques at the wrong time in your creative process or prior to firmly establishing a consistent routine can be detrimental to the health of your project.