Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Time for a good old-fashioned procrastinate

I don't like that moment in job interviews when the interviewer asks you about your talents or skills. I freeze and retreat into my shell muttering something about being a people-person or a good communicator. I've never felt I had any special skills or remarkable talents; I can't speak several languages; I don't play a musical instrument; I don't know how to juggle. So I never know what to say at that point and try to get the subject changed as soon as possible.

However since 'coming out' as a writer I have discovered my special talent.

No, not the ability to create stunning characters.
No, not a talent for plotting.
No, not the ability to craft beautiful descriptive sentences.

I have a talent for procrastination. I am really good at it and can do it for days on end. All I need for a good procrastinate is a project to work on. Something like a novel that needs working on, a short story to write for a prompt, a blog posts to schedule. Give me any of those and I will procrastinate for England.

It is amazing what I can find to do rather than sit down and write. There are lots of things to move from one place to another - not put away of course, just moved. Then later they can be moved back to their original spot. There is always a loud of laundry to be put on and supervised - not watched obsessively of course, just listened to from the sofa and gently monitored. There are endless cups of tea to be made - not drunk of course, just made and left to go cold on the table. There are daytime TV programmes to be sneered at - not watched of course, just monitored from the sofa with a cup of tea cooling in front of me. You see, I really have this talent nailed!

So why do I procrastinate so much when there is writing to be done? I think it's because I
I'm still not convinced that I am a writer. And I'm certainly not convinced that I'm any good at it. So I put it off and avoid it in case I should be found out as a fraud. If only I possessed that Protestant work ethic tat I remember reading about - you know, the one that just gets stuff done by knuckling down and working hard. I know I can when I have to but the truth is, most of the time I don't really have to. Nobody will die or starve if I don't. And with superb irony I've just stopped writing this post to play a game on my tablet!

I'm sure I get more done if I have a deadline to meet. Sadly I'm not at that point in my writing career to have major publishing houses setting a deadline for my next best seller so any deadline I have tends to be an I guess what I need to do is find deadlines for myself like committing to writing for a set submission date. But again there is the chance to procrastinate and miss that submission date with no real consequences. Maybe I have to embrace the procrastinating part of me and get on with it as best I can.

Any ideas how I can overcome my talent for procrastination?

1 comment:

  1. A couple of things help me:

    Having an "office." Now I live in a NYC apartment that doesn't even have a sink, but I set up my desk for writing. I try not to write in bed, instead "going to work." It also helps if I actually leave the apartment and go to the library or Starbucks.

    Having a start time can make you get to it too; a clear cut, "I'm beginning NOW."

    I also try to note when I'm considering starting and then force myself to actually do it, beginning being half of the battle.

    Doing it at the same time every day and, for me, getting to it early. I have more energy in the morning mentally, so if it's the first thing I do in the day, I'm more likely to get it done.