Writing helped me finally put preservative on my deck

My ragged deck had been nagging at me for over three years

I don’t enjoy performing home maintenance chores, and I avoid doing them even more than avoiding writing. I especially dislike tasks that are boring, messy and smelly. Like applying an oil preservative to my wooden deck.

By the time I purchased several gallons of Thompson’s Water Seal last week, I had postponed this task for three, or more truthfully four, years. I had briefly contemplated doing this chore nearly every time I viewed the deck over that period of time, responsibly reminding myself that the harsh ravages of the sun’s remorseless UV rays and the unforgiving, pounding rain would cause deterioration much more quickly if I neglected my holy duty to coat these innocent, vulnerable boards with oil. But I did nothing.

The scales were finally tipped toward action last week when I noticed enough board damage to trigger a terrifying vision of a massive rotting collapse of the structure, and of having to hire a contractor to replace the entire thing. As a traumatized survivor of previous remodeling apocalypses, the thought of dealing with a contractor elicited so much stark terror in my core that I was catapulted over my resistances and forced to address the dreaded task.

As soon as I was engaged in rolling the pungent, unctuous Thompson’s onto the deck, I became bored and restless. My mind searched for a reason to stop. The tension created by feeling obligated to continue yet desperately wanting to quit made the work that much more onerous.

Then, I had an epiphany.

I realized I could write about my process of avoiding and eventually doing my dreaded chore. This made my struggles amusing to me and valuable as fodder for my blog. I could see similarities between deck-oiling procrastination and writing blocks. A spark of interest and energy emerged, and while I was not transported to an exalted state of gratitude about preserving my deteriorating deck, it made the time pass much more pleasurably because I was thinking about something creative as opposed to just resenting each boring minute until the task was done.

If not for my writing, I may have abandoned my boards from boredom. But now water beads up proudly on my deck’s inpenetrable wood surfaces and I can sit out there triumphantly and really relax, no longer haunted by Thompson’s slippery ghost.




About David Rasch

Author, psychologist, speaker, teacher, consultant, workshop leader
This entry was posted in Common Writing Block Problems, The Blocked Writer's Book of the Dead, Tips for overcoming writer's block and procrastination and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Writing helped me finally put preservative on my deck

  1. ixchel leigh says:

    Great read!!!!
    And enjoying watching the beads and pools of water on the newly oiled deck,
    after the cascade of heavy rain we got two days ago.
    Yours truly,
    Your Deck

  2. Steve Rasch says:

    Good blog Dave, I remember as a child “Blackwashing” the decks of my ship model Thermopolie. Although I delayed doing the messy task (the fumes were not uplifting like the Dupont glue used to weld plastic pieces) when the 3 foot model was finished, I felt a a surge of pride. Even though you kidded me about the decks not being Blackwashed, they were! And I didn’t blow it up in Snooks Pond because you made fun of my alleged shoddy waterproofing. I sank it because I was recreating a scene from that movie we watched about the French Foreign Legion. Your Brother, Steve

  3. Jacq says:

    I often use structured procrastination – and will write because I’m avoiding doing something else.

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