Keeping with the theme of obstacle illusions, I thought today might be a good one to talk about procrastination. This week I returned to my day job full time, got both children (mostly) into their respective schools, and did very little writing. I could have gotten up earlier to write in the mornings. I could have written, even if just for ten minutes, at night before bed.
Did I? No.
Why? Procrastination, plain and simple.
I am the type of person who needs to know what direction I am going and when I need to get there. I partially outline my stories before starting, and I set goals to keep me on track with my writing. These two personality traits created two forces that worked against me this week.
The first is that I have hit the point in my novel that is unknown territory. I know how I want to end the book, but I am not sure how to get there. Additionally, I have 60,000 words in a variety of computer files, and I am starting to feel the effects of fatigue. The writing is not flowing so quickly, and instead of the thrill of discovery, I have the feeling of slogging through mud. The idea of sitting at the computer and picking my way through my subconscious was not terribly appealing.
The second is the continuous tug of war that I experience between reasonable expectation and failure to meet the goals I set. I missed my goal for finishing my first draft by June, then the end of June, and then the end of July, leading to a huge derailment of the writing train. I became disappointed in myself, and was not going to let myself off the hook easily for missing my mark not just once, but three times! The emotional self-flagellation did not increase writing output, but had the opposite effect. I didn’t want to hear the voice berating me that I could be done by now if I would have…
Benjamin Franklin stated “You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” The reality is that beating myself up for not meeting a goal does not do me (or anyone else in a similar situation) any good. Regardless of the reasons why we procrastinate, us procrastinators need to get back on track, and continue on our paths. We need to accept where we are at present, make a plan to pull ourselves up out of the mud, get pointed in the right direction, and gain support to keep us there.
Easy enough, right? I have decided to get up at five o’clock to write before I go to work for the next week. That’s my plan. My support is my husband, of course, but also the fact I have shared my plan with you all. If anybody out there needs to make a plan and wants to fess up and share it here, please feel free. We can have a support group, right here on Motivation for Creation!Photo courtesy of: <p><a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=112">Image: Matt Banks / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>