I thought I’d have a quick chat to you about my worst enemy, procrastination.
Procrastination and I are first met many years ago, when I was still swinging on monkey bars. He didn’t quite introduce himself like any other; he just crept up on me like a dark shadow.
And like a needy friend, he keeps me company in all aspects of my life. When I have a report due for work, he’s there. When I have set out to write 500 words before bed time, he’s there. When I have to do laundry, he’s there. Talk about clingy, right?
But through all of our ups and downs together (mostly downs), he will remain by my side forever. So I suppose the only productive thing to do is try to make something positive out of it.
I’ve seen the topic of this rise up on so many occasions recently and so many writers are asking for advice on how to write when you’re not in the mood to write. I keep telling them to cut out all distractions and if they don’t have the motivation to work on their main piece, to work on something separate and fun for a while to reignite their creativity spark and come back to it.
Was that advice good though? I suppose so, it works quite well for me – when I am not in a bout of procrastinating. I think there is a difference between this and losing the love when you’re stuck on a tricky chapter.
So, what do I do? Most days it’s actually easier to give into it. As long as I still get it done on time or later. I am a full-time worker in a stressful office. After my eight hour shift, I get home to carry out the cooking, cleaning, and washing when all I want to do is take a long nap. I then go to the gym for a 45 minute workout – mostly running as it clears my head and strengthens my heart. I drive back home, body aching and brain shutting down, cook another meal, eat. And then I finally slump onto the couch with my laptop, throbbing feet up on the coffee table, and then try to write the next sell-out novel.
I bet majority of your lives sound like this, too. A lot of you probably worse. And then there is the dreaded stare-at-the-blank-screen-with-no-inspiration. By this time of the evening, I either have a million words that I’ve thought of throughout the day or I have absolutely nothing. When the latter happens and I can’t even write poetry, I turn on the TV, snuggle my partner, and indulge in an episode of The Simpsons.
As long as this doesn’t happen more than twice in one week, I am content; because just like a weekend away from work, you need a day’s break from writing as well to keep your creativity alive. To enjoy life, create experiences, and recharge. (Then we use those life experiences in the next chapter).
Have you embraced procrastination as your friend or an enemy?