As I’ve been writing this past week, I’ve discovered myself spending way too much time poking around social media, writing future blog posts, and just generally looking for excuses not to use my writing time to write.
This is odd for me. I am not a procrastinator by nature. As a matter-of-fact, I surprised more than one professor by turning in term papers weeks early. So, why am I procrastinating now?
As part of my procrastination, I decided to investigate and share with you.
4 Reasons I’ve Heard for Why I Procrastinate
1. Overconfidence – Maybe for some people. Possibly. But I’m not confident in my ability to put a solid ending on my current work-in-progress. I’m not oblivious to this fact, as here I am, admitting it to you! Do I think I can do it? With enough work, yes. So why am I procrastinating rather than putting in the work?
2. Lazy – Lazy is not an adjective I’ve ever applied to myself. Writing is a hobby, yes, but I’ve already managed to plunk down 55,000 words in 6 weeks while working a full-time job, dealing with 2 children’s birthday parties, Halloween, blogging, etc. So no, not lazy.
3. Not Believing the Task is Important – This definitely doesn’t apply. I feel like the endings are very important. I may struggle with them, but I want the reader to feel like the build-up was worth it and the ending sufficiently epic. I want a mental fist pump at the end. I want my reader to have that happy grin when you’ve come to the end of a particularly good romance novel.
4. Not Knowing Where to Begin – Well, maybe this is the case. I’m a Panster when I write, so I don’t have the whole thing plotted out (which is very odd for me, but I’ve found it necessary if I want to keep my creativity engaged). I need to continue the story from where it is and get to it the end. Not sure the final product will be spectacular. Okay, pretty sure it won’t be, but that’s normal. That’s what editing and revisions are all about.
3 Reasons Science Says is Why I Procrastinate
1. Avoidance Behavior – If you dread the task ahead of you, you may avoid doing it in the short-term. You know, procrastinate. This can cause a vicious cycle, but it does play into #3 below in that it gives a temporary feel-good emotion while you’re doing something other than what you dread. But I don’t really dread writing the ending. It’s a bit more difficult to write, sure, and I’ll be a little sad when the story ends. But I learned a long time ago that there’s another story in my head, so this isn’t the end.
2. Lack of Motivation – People are known to procrastinate when there’s very little motivation to do a hard task. Now, we’re getting closer. Even if I complete writing the ending of my story, I have yet to start the long and difficult process of revisions. Furthermore, I have no leads on getting it agented and published so that I can get it to readers. So, yeah, motivation might be a little bit lacking. Yes, I want to finish the book. Yes, it’s important to me, but the real issue is when you combine this with the next point.
3. Present Emotions vs Future Emotions – There’s a very real emotional punch you get when you accomplish something. While finishing the book will be accomplishing something, any benefits are in the far distant future. If there are benefits.
Replacing my computer however… My computer has been acting up for almost a year now. It finally hit the wall with me when a “glitch” cost me 3,000 words or a full weekend’s worth of writing. So, I’m actively pricing out new computers, looking at their specs, etc. I will certainly purchase a new computer before I get anything published.
This feels more like I am getting something done, and I will certainly reap the benefits sooner. Just like the little laugh I get reading stuff on Twitter or Facebook. Instant and immediate gratification, versus one day, maybe, selling a book and getting it into the hands of readers who may or may not like it . . . .When I put it that way, it does make me wonder about the sanity of writers!
How about you? Do you procrastinate? What do you procrastinate doing? What’s your fix for it?