Wisdom about Writing from a Seinfeld Episode

Why do I waste time when I want to be writing? There's a Seinfeld episode that holds the key.

It was part of my plan today to write a blog post first thing — either a new piece of short fiction or some thoughts about my writing process — but I’ve been procrastinating all day.

What I’ve done instead is I’ve read:

  • Part of a Salon.com article about an English teacher whose mother was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last lover.
  • Splitsider post about the Seinfeld “Parking Garage” bottle episode.
  • A gossip columnist’s take on Selena Gomez’s rude ankle-baring selfie in a Dubai mosque.
  • An NPR story about an English greenhouse that's battling global threats against the cocoa plant.

I researched vows of silence in the Catholic monastic tradition. I checked our bank account balance. I scrolled through my Facebook and Twitter feeds in search of new reading material on top of what I’ve already read today.

But none of that was what I set out to do this morning, and so this detour becomes what I want to talk about instead.

"The Parking Garage" episode of Seinfeld.
In the Seinfeld “Parking Garage” episode, Jerry drops a remark I think captures the trouble I’m having today: “Why do I always have the feeling that everybody’s doing something better than me on Saturday afternoons?”

Now granted, it’s Sunday, not Saturday, but you get the point. The time-wasting that ensues on Facebook and in other types of Internet surfing is egged on by that little voice in your head that says: “Before you live your own life, check this person's life out. It’s bound to be better than what you had planned.”

But is it? Not usually. What is more rewarding than sticking to your commitment to write? What is better than the faithful pursuit of your craft? What gives more pleasure than knowing you are doing what you were made to do?

Next time I sit down to a blank page, I’m going to hold onto the memory of this moment and that wisdom from Seinfeld. And I’m going to close my web browser and buckle down to work.

Read more posts in the Storytelling Sunday series here.

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