Procrastination and the Working Writer

- by kyliebrant

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I have a magnet on my refrigerator with a saying that speaks to me on a deep heartfelt level. It reads: Hard work pays off in the long run, but procrastination pays off now!

I want that on my tombstone. Because just when I think I’ve taken procrastination to new heights, I outdo myself yet again.

Oh, I can get all self-righteous and claim that it isn’t procrastination at all, it’s all about prioritizing. And when something more urgent comes up and interrupts time I’d set aside to murder my latest victim, I’m just re-delegating my time for maximum efficiency, right?

However, that gets a bit more difficult to believe when playing half a dozen games of Chicktionary becomes a prerequisite prior to starting my daily pages. It gets downright frightening when a deadline looms close enough to cast a shadow on my computer screen, and I’m on page 125 of a 400-page book due in five weeks.

No way to deny it then. I’m a procrastinator. Now where’s the twelve-step program?

I manage to accomplish quite a bit in my daily life. Teach full time, have five kids (out of the house, but don’t kid yourself that they aren’t still a daily energy drain!), volunteer, exercise regularly. But when it comes to writing with every book it seems my procrastination gets worse. Invariably I find myself having to write 78 pages in two days to finish a book that just won’t end. Or to take weeks to coax my muse out from under the table she’s hiding beneath to give me a clue about where exactly this story is going.

Then there’s that helpful internal voice that occasionally whispers, ‘You deserve a weekend off. You work two jobs…you should have a little fun.’ That voice, I’m convinced comes from a small horned creature that smells faintly of brimstone.

I blame it on success. Procrastination has actually worked quite well for me. The deadlines, no matter how close together, somehow get met. Under pressure I manage to set new records time and again for how many pages I can write in a day when I really really need to. This lulls me into a false sense of security because I was able to do it before, so somehow I’ll pull it off again.

Of course I don’t recall the sleepless nights it took to accomplish those feats. The fist of fear squeezing my chest that this time I might not make it. It doesn’t factor in surprise surgeries, or new babies in the family, or a husband who believes it’s helpful to walk by my chair asking continuously, “Are you done yet?”

Somehow I never seem to recall how horrible the situation was the last time I procrastinated like this. Certainly I’ve forgotten that last time I promised myself I was never going to let this happen again!

This time I really mean it. This time. If I meet this deadline I will really never ever procrastinate again.

So you’ll have to excuse me now while I get back to my writing. Of course there’s those six games of Chicktionary to play first. . . .

2 comments

  1. I am not a big procrastinator. I have the need to get ‘er done.

  2. Will you come get ‘er done at my house? Pretty pretty please :)