Procrastination. That evil word that forces us into defensive mode.
“I’m not procrastinating – My son had a doctor’s appointment; the dog needed to be groomed; the computer is running a virus scan; the carpet needed vacuuming.
Let’s be honest with ourselves and others we are procrastinating, putting off the action we really should be doing, delaying the inevitable.
The real question is why are we doing it.
If you are reading this you are either 1) a reader wanting a little insight into the writer’s glamorous life. (Let me tell you now, glamour is rarely the case.) Or 2) You are a writer like myself. If the latter is the case, why are you reading this instead of writing. 🙂
We love writing. Writing isn’t a job it’s a calling, an addiction even. We love our characters. Well, except when they run around in our heads at night pretending to work out plot problems, but really just trying to keep us awake. They like us sleep deprived because then they can take strange turns in the story and mess up the painstakingly devised outline. Okay, I don’t outline, I sit down and write as it comes to me, but there is usually a planned outcome in my mind. And darned those characters trying to make me turn right when I expressly told them to turn left. Sorry, I got distracted.
Oops, or was that another procrastination device?
Back to the question at hand – why, if we love what we do, are we constantly sipping coffee at Procrastination Station instead of getting on the Writing Train?
When it comes to writing my books, the reasons vary. Most of them center around esteem, or lack thereof. Which is pretty ridiculous when you think about it. I’ve won contests, received positive feedback from critique partners, contest judges, and BETA readers. For the most part, I have overcome this issue.
My procrastination problem right now is what you’re reading. My blog, twitter, Facebook page, and any other social media outlet you can add. Why is this such a problem, you ask?
I have several answers (read as excuses). 1) It takes time away from my writing. I really like this answer. And, it’s true. The problem is I don’t seem to have a problem sitting down to watch a TV show, or read, or have coffee with friends. Okay, it’s an excuse, moving on. 2) I write fiction. This is another favorite of mine. It is the same answer I give to teachers (I work in a high school) when they come in and ask me to help them write recommendation letters. They say something like, “But you’re a writer. This would be a piece of cake for you. I’m going to worry over it and pull my hair out.” That is when I tell them, I totally understand, but I would do the same, because I write fiction. It’s much more fun than writing reality. But again, it’s an excuse in this case. I believe we are about to get to my REAL reason.
3) I don’t have anything worthwhile to say or people will think that’s stupid. Let me first make a comment to those of you using this ‘reason’ in regard to writing your fiction novels. Other writers might think your idea is silly. That doesn’t mean it’s so. They just might think that because a) they wish they had thought of it first and want you to drop it so they can write it; b) they don’t understand or have never considered that possibility; c) it isn’t they style/genre/type of writing they do; or d) no one has ever done it before. The last is the specific reason why you SHOULD do it. Now back to my problem, procrastinating about social networking.
I have had a website for years. I’ve completed, as previously mentioned, numerous manuscripts. I’ve even presented workshops in English classes about writing fiction, at the high school where I have my day job. So, why am I so . . . okay, I’ll admit it, afraid to write and participate in the social media arena? My answer? I honestly believed I had nothing valuable to add.
As I’ve been writing this ‘my first blog’ post, something occurred to me. I do have something valuable to say. I know a lot of writers. Some of them are NYT bestsellers, some are Amazon bestsellers, some are just jumping on the Indie train, and some are just finishing their first manuscripts. One thing I know about all of them, is at some time in their careers they have all taken a break at Procrastination Station. They have all gone up to the counter and ordered a second latte rather than go back to the office and face that demanding computer again. They have all suffered with doubt, yes, even the NYT bestsellers. But . . . eventually they toss the latte in the trash, walk out onto the Procrastination Station’s platform and board the What the Heck was I Thinking Train back to the wonderful world of words.
If you have ever taken a break at Procrastination Station, I invite you to share a bit of your story in a comment. Your story might touch something in another writer’s life and move them back on the track.