In honor of Fight Procrastination Day, we take a dig at why writers procrastinate (warning: it isn't pretty but it's pretty funny).
When I sat down to write this piece a mere two hours ago, I was inspired, invigorated, radiating with creative energy. I was ready to write.
But then, something happened. A voice, from … well, probably from my own head, but we’ll pretend it was external, said, “No, no no. Don’t you dare start that project.”
Without a moment of questioning my sanity, or the task at hand, I began sorting through my email. I then followed up with old emails I’d been putting off. I scheduled that doctor appointment I’d been meaning to take care of. I even took part in a Twitter chat. Oh and then, I made tea.
Has it been a productive morning? Relatively so. Was this all part of the creative journey? Eh, arguably. And seriously, who was that troll intent on dooming my ability to get from point A to point B? The last question is rhetorical. I knew who it was the second I felt its familiar presence—the one that so skillfully coincides with inspiration.
Hello there, my old friend.
Whether writing is your day-to-day job or a hobby, it is something that requires inspiration, and for that reason, something that coincides with excuses. The more writers I meet, the more I realize there is one unanimous thing that ties together everyone with a literary flare: procrastinating.
Perhaps we suffer from deadline fear, or maybe, we think we’re special. Or, maybe we really are busier than everyone else on the planet. Perhaps we’re stricken with creative despair. Maybe we’re sensitive and enlightened: privy to a power that must be released, but only at our peril. Whatever the reason, it is a common thread.
Without further ado, I present the pros and cons of procrastination.
- Your house isn’t just clean, it is immaculate. Your deadline is a day past due, but has that editor ever tried writing in a house where you wouldn’t be comfortable eating off of the floor? Ya, didn’t think so.
- Your body is so physically sore from switching your normal procrastinating efforts from working out to writing, that you have beyond overdone it. The brain is a muscle too, right? Best we give them all a rest.
- You’ve become a keen observer of all things going on throughout your home, much like a cat. Is that … static coming from your TV, or the humblings of inspiration? Could I write about that noise? That’s, like, a thing right? Better take apart my TV to find out.
- Ms. Smarty Pants editor seems to just spit out eloquent copy. Better show her the other side of brilliance.
- Being the only person in North America who hasn’t seen the ending to “Breaking Bad” is detrimental to your sanity. Really, it is.
- While we’re on that note, where did that list of shows you wanted to watch on Netflix go?
- …and is that new show on Hulu yet?
- Another cooking show!! I bet this one is better than all the others.
- Creative genius works best last-minute. It’s not procrastination, but smarteration? Ya, that’s a word.
- Your reputation as a credible writer is somewhat destroyed, but I mean, if you build it back up, they will come … back. That’s how that saying goes, right?
- Your ClearVoice score is now a 2. Is that even possible?
- You get paid 25 cents per word, so you’ve decided you’re like, only like, writing to like, a Valley Girl audience from now on. Unfortunately, this segmented audience is not even slightly relevant to your subject expertise.
- Perpetual anxiety is real, and quite suffocating.
- Becoming a well-branded subject matter expert requires a delicate balance of churning out compelling, relevant content, frequently. It also requires writing, something you’ve been avoiding doing for like, a week.
- You’re hungry, and broke, and you’re pretty sure you may get your water turned off.
Moral of the story: self-handicapping is a real thing, and while I’m super flattered that you choose to occupy your time with reading my piece, I’m not paying you. Nor am I complimenting you, or helping to further your career (But, we can. Want to write for us? Click here). You, yes, YOU, are your own biggest critic. Remember, not everything you write is going to be the best thing ever, but it is all part of the process. You can procrastinate forever, but where is it going to get you?
Hint: The answer is nowhere.