You Are Sucha Procrastinator!

Welcome to Rudan Thursdays where we talk about…things! Anything from books and movies, to blog posts and authors, to food and drink.

Continuing with our chat about fear, today lets talk about procrastination…

Your wip is waiting for you. You can hear it calling your name. You can feel that niggling sensation at the back of your neck; you know what you need to do, you just…don’t…do it.

Why?

“I’m a procrastinator.”

Well, yeah. Duh. But…why are you a procrastinator?

Note: For all of my non-writer buddies, “wip” means “Work In Progress”

Last time, we chatted about fear and change; about how many people refuse to change simply because they fear it. Whatever their “it” may be.

Using yet another of Bob Mayer’s tips—and how could I not? He’s a genius!—we’re going to delve into our fears a little deeper. It’s ok, don’t worry, yeah just hold my hand, you’ll be alright 😛

Since I know myself better than I know you, I’ll use me as an example:

I have never been a procrastinator. In fact, my mantra is “get it done now so it’s out of the way.” I’m rarely late, and I hardly ever miss deadlines or appointments. Just ask my husband, he’ll tell you I excel at crackin’ the whip.

So…why isn’t MY wip—pun intended—finished and ready to submit?

I’m a…procrastinator *cue innocent whistling*

NO! I’m afraid, plain and simple. I think of completing my wip and I think to myself, “It’s not good enough.” The reality is, it’s probably fine (see that ‘probably’ there? Yeah…fear), and yet, I procrastinate.

There are SO many other things that need to be done: laundry, kids need a bath, dinner, clean the [insert room here]…but, oh wait, my husband did all of that. Now what? I feel my laptop staring at me, and I…resist. WHY?! I can’t answer that question…because the funny part is, when I’m writing, I feel SO GOOD! I feel amazing…I feel energized and alive…so, why do I resist?

Fear.

Chatting with you all about my fears has been enormously helpful. The past several weeks I’ve been able to face quite a bit of mine, and begin working through some others. My hope is that you have been able to do the same! We’ll have the final word on fear next week 🙂

So talk to me. Are YOU a procrastinator? Do you find yourself searching out other tasks in order to avoid an intimidating one? How do you work through procrastination?

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21 thoughts on “You Are Sucha Procrastinator!

  1. Excellent post, Kate. As Kristen likes to tell us, you are not alone! After the success of my first novel, The Bridge Club, gave me the confidence to believe there were folks who enjoyed reading what I wrote, I thought the next one would be so much easier. Um … perhaps a little … but halfway through novel #2, I can relate to much of what you say here and apparently so can most writers so we are in good company. Stephen King admits to his procrastination in his terrific “On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft”. Paul Rudnik says “Writing is 90% procrastination.” Canadian author, Margaret Atwood – “If I waited for perfection, I would never write.” Now that I’ve procrastinated by writing about it, it’s time to get back to my WIP. Thanks for this!

  2. Yes, I’m a procrastinator. My procrastination is not the real problem, though. It’s a symptom of a peskier one. I fall prey to fear and doubts. I have a hunch most writers do at times. It’s hard to put our work “out there” for others to see, judge, criticize. What I need to remember is that there’s a flip side, one I’d do well to focus on. Readers might love my work, be blessed by it, find themselves changed in positive ways as a result of it. But only by getting the words on the page and sharing them with the world will the latter take place.

    1. That is exactly right, Keli!! There’s always another side or point of view. You will never please everyone, and there will ALWAYS be that someone out there who is just looking for fault or something to critize. You just have to ignore those Negative-Nelly’s and keep moving forward!

      Thanks for sharing!

  3. I think we all use delaying tactics at times as a result of our fears. I’m not typically an procrastinator but yeah, I’ve totally done the same thing you describe – you know, suddenly want to clean and go chase squirrels rather than do a certain “fearful” task. Bob used a great example in his Write it Forward class: Special forces, when ambushed (fear) are trained to head straight into the ambush to survive – right into it and through it – because to go anywhere else is more than likely a designed death trap that the ambush was meant to drive them into. When considered: What is more frightening, the known danger or the unknown one? Stick with the known.

    Great post, Kate, thanks for the reminders 🙂

    1. That is a fantastic example…thanks for reminding me of it, Gene. Bob is exactly right (as if there were any question!) ~ we must face our fears head on and keep our eyes looking forward.

      Yep, I’ll take the known danger over the unknown any day 😛

      Thanks Gene!

  4. I’m not generally a procrastinator, but when I’m worried about failing, I definitely put off trying until the last possible moment. I think part of that comes from wanting to be as prepared as possible before I try, but the rest is just plain fear 🙂

  5. Kate,
    Great post. Part of my procrastination comes from the fact that with my first novel, it was organic. I didn’t know that I was doing it all wrong, so I didn’t have an internal editor yelling at me. Now a couple years post hence, I procrastinate because I want it to be right the first time. I have to shove my inner critic into the deepest recesses of my mind so I can get back to that organic, just let the words flow kind of a place. I have to remind myself that I can fix it later, but if I don’t get the words out, there will be nothing to fix.

    ~Tosha

    1. That’s a really great point, Tosha ~ we spend so much time honing our craft and learning the tools of the trade, that we can forget or perhaps ignore the creative genius inside…and without that the whole thing is bust! Its a critical balance – learning the craft and allowing the creativity to flow.

      Thanks Tosha!!

  6. Although I always keep myself busy, I’m a procrastinator. I know that if I just focused I would have my book done much sooner. But that will require either some medication or imprisonment.

    Cuz when I’m writing, I go off on tangents and I’m still creating, but I come up with stuff like THIS (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/–1VBtj4pekY/Tz3pAXXK9II/AAAAAAAAAXQ/dgNiquJP1bU/s400/Example.jpg) when I should be racking up more word count!

    1. Word count isn’t the most important thing, Matt! Creativity…that is key, my friend 😛 Obviously, you have plenty of that. I say, as long as your contributing to your story in some way, then you’re good to go. Is that a language key, btw?

  7. Yep, I’m with Gene (and Bob). Straight up the middle is the best way. Not that I don’t try traveling around the edges for a while, trying to make it not painful. Eventually though, I just do it and wonder why it took me so friggin’ long!

  8. Well, I could have written this post…except I was too busy cleaning the cat box, doing the laundry, washing the dishes and trying desperately to NOT think about all that hoorid stuff I wrote last night… and the night before and the night before that. I have a whole lot of really…

    Hmm, well, maybe it’s NOT that bad. But… do I dare stop hacking it apart with this red pen?

    Yeah. I think we all go through a bit of this. But you gave voice to the feelings very elegantly. Thanks, Kate.

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