Don’t crawl before you can sit

Procrastination shouldn’t be such a dirty word. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing at a comfortable pace. Giant sequoias grow to nearly one hundred metres over thousands of years. The Mona Lisa took da Vinci twenty years to paint. In an ideal world, progress would be limited to that which we do when the mood takes us. The only rule of the miraculous school of poetry — of which Douglas Dunn described himself as a ‘fully paid up member’ — is that you write a poem only when you have a poem to write, and crucially, when you can no longer put it off.

My son gets frustrated because he can’t keep his head up and crawl over to me. He’s an accomplished sitter though, only toppling over every now and then when reaching for something. When he can crawl he’ll be frustrated that he can’t stand up without falling over, and sooner or later, that he can’t run a mile in under four minutes or solve quadratic equations or write a bestselling novel. At such times, we would all do well to remind ourselves that we are accomplished experts when it comes to sitting on our arses.