Thursday, July 10, 2014
Why You Want To Procrastinate
Procrastination! What a swine!
I’d slip in a definition here, only I can’t be arsed.
In any case, we all know what procrastination is, don’t we?
You badly WANT to write but you’re doing EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER to NOT WRITE.
Cleaning, laundry, hoovering, DIY, shaving, walking around, making coffee, making tea, ironing, cleaning windows, fixing your hair, chewing your nails, looking out of the window, MORE cleaning...
The list goes on.
Instead of doing THE THING YOU WANT TO DO, you spend — no, waste — hours of precious time on idle donkey work in which you’d never willingly invest so much energy unless you weren’t NOT WRITING.
So what’s the solution to this conundrum?
Let’s think about spiders for a moment.
They crawl, they bite, they spin webs.
Now, THERE’S an analogy for your next NaNoWrimo session: "I’m spinning a web of words!"
Problem is, writing isn’t an activity for which humans have evolved any kind of innate or hardwired brainy/body-y functionality in quite the same way that webspinning just...HAPPENS when you’re a spider.
As with any skill, you have to take yourself through the process of writing a sufficient number of times before you have something you can reproduce.
The good news is that writing (in this respect, at least) is exactly the same as cleaning, laundry, hoovering, DIY, shaving, walking around, making coffee, making tea, ironing, cleaning windows, fixing your hair, chewing your nails, looking out of the window, MORE cleaning...
It’s a learned activity that you havehappen when so you choose.
So why all the procrastination?
Why force yourself to do something you DON’T WANT To DO that prevents you from doing what you DO WANT? The thing you’d CHOOSE, if only you didn’t WANT TO FOLD ALL THESE TEA TOWELS?
The answer is: A FEELING.
I can’t tell you what this FEELING is, because it differs from person to person and moment to moment, and if I knew, I couldn’t tell you anyhow. How do you describe a feeling accurately in such a way that anyone else can understand exactly what you mean?
It may even be that the FEELING accompanying the procrastination is so familiar to you that you don’t register it as a feeling at all.
Or maybe it’s simply the MEMORY of a feeling.
A FEELING! Blocking the desire to WRITE, and firing up the (weaker, weaker, weaker) desire to NOT WRITE.
Unless you really have taken leave of your writerly senses (in conjunction with developing a sudden interest in pairing socks), nine times out of ten, the REASON for your procrastination will be a FEELING.
If you can identify the FEELING (you can do this without trying to DESCRIBE it if you sit for a few moments and actively TAKE IN INFORMATION) then you have three options:
1) Stop generating the FEELING.
2) Write in spite of the FEELING.
3) Become an expert in pairing socks.
On all of which maybe I’ll say more in future blog posts...