Someone once told me that procrastination is like masturbation; in the end you realize, you’ve just f@$ked yourself.
There’s probably more truth to that than anyone cares to admit. Mostly because no one wants to acknowledge the fact that we’ve bent ourselves over a barrel plenty of times in an effort to avoid the unavoidable.
School assessments, work tasks, phone calls, responding to messages, writing chapters. I’ve done it for all of them. I’m an artful procrastinator. I need to finish that chapter… but I have one sock and a shirt that HAVE to be washed. I’m trying to tie up a plot hole… that’ll have to wait until I scrub all the tiles in the shower.
Case in point. On the weekend I had to write a chapter for a character that involved him realizing he’s made a colossal error in the act of investigating a disappearance.
But I didn’t want to.
The reasons are varied, and all vaguely resembling excuses, but suffice to say, my room is tidy, two loads of laundry have been done, and my shower/bathroom is very clean.
And finally, after all that, the chapter is half written.
I’m not sure about everyone else, but when I notice I’m really putting off writing a particular scene, I try to figure out a reward system.
Yes, of course, I go through and look at why I don’t want to write the scene/chapter/paragraph/sentence, but sometimes the reasoning is as convoluted as ‘I don’t want to’, which can also become ‘I’ll work on it later’. I always try and get back to it though before it slides precariously into the ‘never gonna happen’ bin to rot.
Sushi is one of my favourite rewards. Liquor features as well, though not as far up the list as some might think. I’m also partial to ice cream, and cookie dough, and sometimes I even have them together. #ShockHorror
Ah Caramel’s are a good one, stashed away in my room. Can’t always guarantee I’ll save them just for rewards though… but oh well. Dems da breaks.
I’ve even used really good books I’m reading, and TV shows as temptations. I’m not allowed to read another chapter or watch another episode until MY scene/chapter/paragraph/sentence/whatever is written.
Somedays though, none of that ^ even works. That’s when I fall back on the advice given to me by one of my instructors at Uni, Tony Cavanaugh: just write. It doesn’t matter if it’s good, or bad, or even related to the story. Just write. Push through the barrier until you find the groove again. You can always go back, edit (or purge), but if you keep writing, you keep going.
That’s helped me a lot at times. The days where I drag my feet and hate the page and feel like everything I’ve ever written is god-awful and bound for a bonfire, I try to keep going.
Sometimes, that’s all we can do.
Other than the laundry.