Yes, that’s right, people. We’ve got to get our bums on seats and write.
I have learned the art of procrastination. My writing and I have been sucked unwillingly into a vortex where nothing gets done. This piece for instance, has literally taken me weeks to write. I kept putting it off and I’m not sure why.
I have self-discipline; bucket-loads of the stuff. I rise early every morning. Heck, I write for two hours before my family even begins to consider stirring. But what was stopping me from writing these few, paltry words?
Maybe I’m not a procrastinator at all. Maybe I have serious authority issues. I don’t like being told what to do, even by myself!
I only seem to want to do things when I’m excited about them. This explains why I’m late paying our council rates every quarter. I certainly intend to pay them, it’s just hard to get excited about council rates.
Writing a short story about a teenage girl living a gritty life? Exhilarating. Updating my Instagram feed with a picture of an awesome book? Titillating. Writing a piece on procrastination? Maybe I’ll just go and check my LinkedIn account.
I know I have to write this, I really do. But, I can’t seem to sit myself down in front of my laptop and punch down on keys with that blank screen looking at me expectantly. I’ve resorted to writing this on scraps of paper when I’m supposed to be preparing dinner for the family. I type little notes into my iPhone while sitting in my car in the grocery store carpark. Yep, you’ve got it. Shopping for groceries and preparing dinner just isn’t my idea of thrilling.
In a burst of enthusiasm, I look up the definition of procrastination in my Concise Oxford Dictionary (which I might add is not at all concise):
Procrastinate /v. intr. defer action; be dilatory
Usage: see usage note at prevaricate.
Even the dictionary is procrastinating!
I’m at a loss, but I’m determined to not google this. This may possibly be a ploy of mine to procrastinate further, or it may be a way to prevent me from surfing the web for the next nine hours.
Okay. Sigh. I give in and check my blog statistics. Hmm. Someone from Luxembourg has viewed all my posts. While performing a quick brain scan, I scroll through my contacts and consider if I know anyone from Luxembourg. Well, there was that guy we met years ago on a train trip through France. Oh, interesting. Luxembourg is the 8th least-populous country in Europe and the world’s only remaining grand duchy. What is a duchy anyway? Ooh, a country ruled by a duke or duchess. Luxembourg is ruled by Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Henri Albert Gabriel Felix Marie Guillaume is a looker. I’m always a sucker for a man in a tux. Fascinating – his wife doesn’t get on with her mother-in-law. Intriguing. I’m about to google strife with mother-in-law when I stop myself. What the hell am I doing? What’s Luxembourg got to do with ‘research’ into procrastination and why am I frantically looking up my mother-in-law’s birthday in my desk calendar. I’m sure I remembered her birthday…
I settle myself comfortably at my laptop but not before making myself a rather large cup of tea. It’s in my favourite Starbucks mug. Do you know it holds 473ml of tea? We collect Starbucks mugs when we travel. OMG, why can’t I write this?
If you stayed with me this long. I salute you. But people, we all know perfectly well what procrastination is and what to do about it.
We all know we’re worried we won’t write anything good enough and that we self-handicap because we want an excuse in case our writing doesn’t hit the spot. We’re all worried about failure; about having too much to do; about looming deadlines; about personal branding of our social media accounts. We’re worried about a lack of purpose and about being overwhelmed by the pressures we put upon ourselves.
We all want excuses, but people let’s beat this. Let’s trounce the beast and become masters of our own universes. Yes, that’s right, people. We’ve got to get our bums on seats and write. Write anything, anything at all. Just bloody write something and get the thought process started, so your thoughts can start to flow and finally, you’ve got something to edit.
The Art of Procrastination was first published in Issue 03 of writeHackr magazine and is reproduced here with kind permission.