Monday, April 23, 2012

"I'll do it later" syndrome

My fatal flaw is that I am the ultimate procrastinator. I procrastinate because I'm constantly overwhelmed by the amount that I have to do, and it's easier to ignore it and do something else.

For example, when I'm about to start cleaning, I will survey my condo and note all of the things that need to be picked up, wiped down, vacuumed, and tidied. I then realize that doing all the things I need to do will actually take me a few hours, rather than the 20 to 30 minutes I wanted to dedicate to the project. So, instead of rolling up my sleeves and diving in, I stress and fret for that 20 to 30 minutes, then wander off and find something else to do.

The same is true of my writing. I am editing right now. As a result, my condo is very clean, and I have a fridge stocked with all of the food I cooked yesterday for the week. Because the amount of editing I have to do is intimidating the hell out of me. So of course I'd rather do anything but that.

So. This here is some smack talk to my subconscious.

Do you REALLY think you are going to become a writer if you keep waking up miserable in the morning because you got nothing done the night before? And then it's time to go to work, right? And you spend the entire car trip with knots in your stomach while you go to a job that - let's face it - you don't hate, but you just don't have the passion to do for the next 40 years of your life. So to pep yourself up, you go right ahead and picture yourself as a successful writer. What kind of lifestyle you'll have, how you'll get to spend your time. As if it's possible to dream yourself there. When really you know what's going to happen - you're going to sit at your desk and pray to God no one finds out you're as incompetent as you feel. You're going to exhaust yourself with stress and worry, because that's what being a lawyer is good for. And then you'll go home, have a scotch, sulk, watch lame-ass TV, and write it off as just "not feeling inspired enough" to work on your novel.

And then you'll do the exact same thing again the next day.

And the next.

Well, guess what? I'm really sick of that whole mess. It's time to stop pouting and feeling sorry for yourself. There is no magic gadget that is going to make writing easier when you actually, God forbid, sit down and really work at it for once. But you want to do it, so it's time to actually do it. Stop making excuses, stop procrastinating.

You edited for all of an hour tonight. Just one hour, but look at the progress you made! The first five scenes of your novel, the first 8000 words of your novel - edited! Not to perfection. No, we are working in layers, because that's what we do. But you cut a lot of chaff you were fretting about. You tightened up some language. You corrected some crap grammar. AND you thought of some new things to add to replace the 700+ words you ended up cutting! And they're good things. Good ideas.

Can you commit to doing an hour tomorrow night? I know you'll probably get home late. You're going to have to make up for sneaking out a little early this evening. But there is a plus side - the kitchen is clean. The fridge is full of food that you just have to heat and eat.

And, OK, hell, you can use your new voice dictation device thingy you bought for your car. So instead of fretting, maybe you can actually do something useful with your time while you drive.

Now if only you could actually get your fat butt to the gym once in a while.

No comments:

Post a Comment