Friday, October 10, 2014

When Procrastination Strikes

Some people might say that procrastination is the fastest way to kill your writing career.
In a way, it could be. There are many ways of looking at procrastination.
One person might see it as being lazy, while another may see it as feeling overwhelmed. It all depends on the person and their point of view.
I don't see it as either.
When I hear the word procrastination applied to writing, I see it as a lack of training, a lack of skill, or a bad habit.
Anyone can write.
But, what makes a writer a Writer is how they teach them themselves to actually take the time to sit down and Write!
When I first started writing, I wanted to become a writer by profession, but I couldn't make myself sit down for any amount of time to write. It was almost painful to try.
I wanted to be Writer.
But I always found something more important to do.
When I did sit down to write, I allowed myself to become consumed in what I felt was more important than my writing. (And we're back to Writer's Guilt!)
Procrastination runs deep in my father's side of the family, so it is something that creeps into my life periodically. My mother is a doer. If there is something to be done, it should be done - yesterday!
Their two very different personalities made growing up in our house interesting!
Because both my parents were extreme in these areas, I learned how to balance my impatience of doing with the sometimes deep desire to "put it off until tomorrow" - to some degree.
Soon after leaving an abusive relationship, I found that I was using procrastination as a punishment.
I purposely wouldn't allow myself to do what I wanted, what needed to be done, such as outlining my book, because I was angry with myself.
One day, I was complaining about my procrastination problem to my mom over coffee. (All good epiphanies come over a cup of hot tea or coffee, or in the shower! Must be the steam...) She suggested that maybe I didn't feel that I deserved the pleasure of writing.
Like a slap in the face, I realized that I hated myself for becoming a victim, so I took away the one thing that made me feel worthwhile - my writing.
When I saw what I doing to myself, I decided that I was worth taking the necessary action to correct this way of thinking!
Just because you may feel smaller than dirt doesn't mean that you won't be a great writer!
In my opinion, the personal struggles one goes through increase the potential of that persons writing by 100%! So, the more you experience, the better writer. If you allow yourself the pleasure of writing.
After struggling everyday for a month to break my writing procrastination habit, I almost gave up. Then I realized, maybe instead of breaking the habit, I should reprogram myself.
So, everyday for the next month, I sat down with a pen and journal and set the timer for one minute and wrote. I wanted to be writer so badly that I focused on my desire to be published (and conjured the image of myself at book signings) throughout the day, so that when my son went down for his afternoon nap, I concentrated all my energy into writing - for one minute. Then, two minutes, then five, and before I knew it, I got lost in the joy of writing!
Now, if conditions allow, I write for hours at a time.
I also write everyday, no matter what. I don't allow myself to skip even a day.
Procrastination is a habit. Once you get started writing, don't stop!
Even if it is a quick, but meaningful jot down in your journal several days of the week and then 500 words a day on the weekends, make yourself write everyday!
But, write because you love to write. Don't write because you have to. Write because you are a writer!
As you go about your day, look for things to write about, so at the end of the day (or when you choose to write) you will enjoy your session.
When I decided that writing was just as important than putting on make-up, painting my nails and even washing the dishes, I became a writer.
I write for me.
I write because I love writing!
I write because I have a story to tell.
I write because I have something important to say.
I write because I am in love with writing!
I write because I am a Writer.
Are you a Writer?