I recently had to write some copy for the back cover of a client’s book, and I avoided this writing for days. Sound familiar?
As writers we often find ourselves at the mercy of the ideas that one day flow faster than we can type, yet the next day apparently have a strong desire to hide like dust bunnies under the bed—they scatter as soon as we get close to them.
When the latter happens, we find a million and one things to do other than write (I see you nodding!). I’ve noticed many bloggers writing recently about NOT writing—and I totally get it. Whether you dabble at writing as a hobby or you make your living this way, you’ll always have days when you reach The Procrastination Station* and just can’t get going.
(*Thanks to my good friend, Angela Rose, founder of PAVE: Promoting Awareness/Victim Empowerment for the use of this phrase. Learn more about Angela and PAVE here.)The Procrastination Station Click To Tweet
Here are a few posts by other bloggers who apparently struggle with focus, too:
My mind was full of ideas and random thoughts that never made it from my brain to my laptop. I was easily distracted. When I got home from my day job I cleaned, exercised or cooked to avoid writing, I wasn’t even reading. It was then, I knew something was wrong.” —Jill at Jill Weatherholt
Writing is like working out. Some days you’ll be so amped and well rested that you want to go out and run 30 miles or lift all the weights in the gym so many times that you won’t be able to put a shirt on the next day. Other days you might embody an exceptionally lethargic sloth, and would rather sit around in your pajama pants eating an entire block of Stilton blue cheese rather than move. The same goes for your writing. You’ll have good days and bad.” —Oliver at Literature and Libation
It just seems that there are so many other jobs that need to be finished first. We persuade ourselves that we couldn’t possibly concentrate effectively on our writing with the washing up not done, or the car in such a disgraceful condition, or the shopping not completed, or that bill not paid, or the toilet not cleaned or that shelf not fixed, and so on, and so on. ” —Justin at The Mightier Pen
For me, writing is often deadline-driven. When I absolutely, positively MUST deliver on time, I do—and then wonder why I procrastinated!
Sometimes we just need deadlines to accomplish what we need to accomplish; the arrival of company means the bathrooms must be cleaned, the “check oil” light means we can’t continue driving around for several months without servicing the car, and the due date on a bill means either pony up or pay a hefty late fee.
Here’s a tidbit from Marc and Angel Hack: “The greatest enemy of productivity is the false belief that somehow tomorrow is a better day to get something done. This is a cold, hard lie. You’ll feel the same way tomorrow and this ‘better tomorrow’ will never come.”
So I’m pulling out of The Procrastination Station and getting to writing. The creative process is, for me, all about focus. And isn’t that really what a deadline is?
How do YOU get into the mood to do something you’ve been putting off? If you share an idea in the comments, who know? You might help a fellow procrastinator get off the dime! I’ll go first:
When I don’t want to do something, I promise myself a little reward when the chore is accomplished. When I was a child, that was something like eating a bowl of ice cream or reading a chapter of my book. Now that I’m an adult, the rewards are more sophisticated: I reward myself with something like eating bowl of ice cream or reading a chapter of my book.”