Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Procrastination as an Art Form

I've always known I'm a procrastinator.

- Waiting till Sunday night to do my homework in high school.

- Waiting to start a major paper in college until a day or two before it's due.

- Starting my bookclub book the night before we meet.

Yes, I'm a Major Procrastinator.  I'm so good at procrastinating that I've taken it to the level of an Art Form.

Procrastinating has served me well.  In the above situations, the looming deadlines kick me into high gear and I can rock that homework, paper, or book.  I got very good grades in high school and college.  And I can easily read a book in a day, if that's what I set out to do.

And yet . . .

Being a procrastinator is not always a good thing.  In fact, it's usually quite the opposite.

If I don't have a hard deadline, I take my sweet old time.  This goes for basically everything.

My husband once said, "It's a good thing we have people over sometimes, or our house would never get really clean."

The day before guests come over, I go into a cleaning frenzy (and force my husband and daughter to help), and dang if our house doesn't SHINE!

But, "no guests" = "dust bunnies under the piano."

On a much larger, and more important scale, I now realize how much procrastinating has affected my career as a writer.

I love writing.

I love being a writer.

I love completing a book and sharing it with the world.

So why then do I find it so difficult to write every day?

Why is it so easy for me to find other things to do instead of write?

- Watch The Mentalist on TV.
- Get a coffee and cookie at the bank.
- Walk to the bookstore.
- Walk to the library.
- Watch Law & Order on TV.
- Have lunch with a friend.
- Check Facebook.
- Check Twitter.
- Get more coffee.
- Play solitaire online.

You get the picture.

And all this happens when I'm supposed to be writing.  It's my free time - my writing time - because I'm not at my "regular" job.

Why do I do this?  Why do I have such a problem with procrastination and lack of self-motivation?  Am I just inherently lazy?  Do I secretly not want to succeed?

Or is there a clue in my earlier examples?

Maybe I really do need a deadline to get me moving!

But if I set my own deadlines, is it the same thing?  Will I simply look at them as suggestions, instead of actual hard deadlines?

Well, I'm sick of procrastinating where my writing is concerned.

I have projects started and waiting to take flight!

So, I've set a real deadline for myself.

I will finish my writing project by the end of December or I will have to go back to working five days/week at my "regular" job.

Since I really like having the time to write, I had better use it.  Use it or lose it!

This is my promise to myself.

I will write and write well.  I will stick to my December deadline because there will be consequences if I don't.  I will be proud of what I have accomplished.

My writing is an Art Form too.  And it deserves my attention.


  1. I procrastinate too, especially with my writing. Some people say it's hard to write if one is not inspired. Still others say you'll never write if you keep on waiting for the perfect moment. So I guess, writing everyday disciplines us not to have excuses. Good luck to us both!

  2. I think you're right that everyday writing does discipline us to not have excuses. Thanks for your comment. It's a good reminder to all writers, including us! Good luck!