i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

Who do you listen to? Mark Twain, Picasso or Charles Dickens?

Milk has to be put back in the refrigerator or it will go rotten and  left-over cooked chicken has to be put in the refrigerator so you don’t poison your family when you serve it again. You don’t have to put your hammer away. You can set it down on the table after you use it.

You can put the screwdriver in the junk drawer in the kitchen. You don’t have to walk downstairs and put it in the tool box.

And why would you clean out the linen closet when you can just throw everything in the guest room. And those old baby toys, why waste your time sorting through them? Just put the boxes in the guest room.

Mark Twain said I could wait until tomorrow.

Mark Twain said I could wait until tomorrow.

Why waste today cleaning when you can do it tomorrow? The good news. There is always another tomorrow. So keep delaying. And the book you started writing? You can put that in the guest room too. You don’t have to write today. Really you don’t, there is always tomorrow.

Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.
Mark Twain – From “More Maxims of Mark.”

My bad habits of  not putting my hammer away and putting off unpleasant tasks like cleaning out the linen closet have spread to my writing.

Bad habits are contagious. 

Yesterday I wanted to write the outline for a book I am writing with a friend. I couldn’t concentrate. I wanted to take a nap or put the outline for the book in the guest room with all the linens I had to fold and toys I had to sort. Mark Twain had given me bad advice. There is always another tomorrow. If I keep putting off my writing until tomorrow, I will be dead with all my words still in my brain. 

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
Pablo Picasso

I put on my Incredible Hulk mask and got angry. I cleaned out the guest room and put my hammer away. I don’t want to follow the advice of Mark Twain. Procrastination was wasting my time. If I had just put the linens away when I washed them I wouldn’t have such a big time-consuming job to do later. 

I want to write. I don’t want to waste my time looking for my hammer and cleaning up messes I left from the day before.

My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.
Charles Dickens

I will follow the advice of Charles Dickens and Picasso over the advice of Mark Twain. Today is the day.

You can’t write yesterday, because it is now today. And you can’t write your story tomorrow because tomorrow never comes. When you wake up, tomorrow has become today.


Do it today.

Who do you want to listen to? Charles Dickens and Picasso or Mark Twain?

Please tell me in the comments. I would love to chat, after I work on the outline for my book.


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

Feature Box

Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Sue Sutherlin

    WOW! This was a figurative 2×4 to the head for me! I copied and pasted all three quotes into a Word document, printed it out, and now just have to decide where to hang it as a constant reminder to be a better steward of the time with which the Lord has blessed me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Sue, thank you for letting me know my story will help you be a better steward of your time. You are very welcome. Very, very, very.

  • Rebekah

    Put your tools upstairs in the laundry room so you don’t have to walk so far! You will be far more apt to actually put them away. 🙂

    • Great idea Rebekah. I will do that today. Thank you. 🙂

  • Christa Sterken

    Great quotes, way to rock it. Some people told me the other day they thought my personality was motivated and structured. I was suprised since my motivation comes from the urgency provided by procrastination

  • Shannon Cochran

    Wow! Way to go, Pamela! Good advice, Dickens and Picasso.

    I don’t want to procrastinate. I want to persevere and finish my book. But
    to keep balanced and walk in step with God’s Spirit. If I go to any
    extreme, I will be ineffective and accomplish little good. Probably
    won’t ever finish my book. My pantry will become empty and my family will go hungry–among a long list of unmet needs!

    I love how James 4:14 reminds me that I “do not even know what will happen tomorrow” since I am a “mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” So I should do ask God to help me be willing to do the good that I can today. Then actively do-good!

    Side note: I thought of you several times today. Sent you prayers from my laundry room where I swept up spilled Oxy clean. I also reorganized my vanity drawer that had become hard to shut. 🙂 Cool find (no pun intended): Found the kids’ toothpaste. The one that my baby doesn’t say, “No Mommy. That too-pay hot for me.” 🙂 Linen closet still organized and clean. But I remembered the day I sent you that pic of the hand soap that had spilled on the floor.

    • Thank you for the prayers you sent my way. Hugs back to you.

  • Diane Andeson

    I WANT to listen to Picasso and Dickens, but I am always procrastinating…

  • Yeah!

  • Kurt

    Quite a conundrum. Mark Twain also wrote his autobiography only to be published after he died. Part on his reasoning was that he could be honest knowing that it wouldn’t be read until years after his passing. This way he didn’t have to worry about offending anyone living or hearing about it from anyone. Sometimes it’s tough to decide what needs to be done and what doesn’t. When do we take time to sharpen our own saws and get centered, and when does one push through regardless? These are things I struggle with. The Picasso one certainly hits home though. Thanks Pam!

    • You are very welcome Kurt. I didn’t know Mark Twain had his autobiography published after his death. Interesting. Thank you for your sharing your perspective.

      • Kurt

        Actually, he said it couldn’t be published for 100 years after he passed. Only volume one has been published. If you get the chance, just read the first page where he explains why he wanted to wait. VERY interesting perspective, and in my opinion, valid..

  • margaret simon

    It depends. Some projects I jumped into with vigor. Others, well, get put to the side. Summer has started and I feel the exhilaration of having time! Time to clean out the closets. Time to walk the dog. Time to write. But I also know that I have to be committed to make these things happen. So instead of reading more blogs, I’ll go walk the dog. See ya!

    • How was your walk with your dog? It rained here today so Martha didn’t get a walk. I look forward to reading more of your stories.

      • margaret simon

        Very nice, warm with a breeze, stopped to visit with a friend. I even wrote a few words before I left. I love the ease of summer!

  • I want to write, too. Unfortunately, my bad habits have bit off any available time I might have had. It all started with one small renovation some thirteen years ago. It began to snowball. It became a domino. It became a toppling Jenga tower. Now, I’m paying the price of procrastination.

    • Shelley, at least you have a pretty house. You could always write about the snowball, or the domino or the toppling Jenga tower. I love reading your insights on life. Your life right now is holding a paint brush.