So, I promised you a blog about procrastination and as you can see, this is it. What you won’t know however is how long it took to write due to all the stops and starts I made. Cups of coffee, dog walks, kids wants, tv catch-up, girly lunches all demand pieces of me and my time, and, I have to say they are all important. What they do however is take me away from my writing.
Facebook, Twitter, emails are all things that I absolutely have to look at before I start my writing for the day. But why? Are my friends going to say anything so important that it cannot wait for a few hours? I highly doubt it. But still I feel compelled to check every half an hour or so.
Social networking is a valuable tool for those who are trying to promote themselves and their work but they can be just as destructive in those writers (like me) whose minds are prone to wander.
So what is the solution? Is there a solution? Some would say that as long as you are writing you are honing your craft, whether that be drafting pages of your latest masterpiece or penning a quick reply to a comment on Twitter, and to some degree I would concur. But is this all just an excuse to stop you from the real task of finishing your work? I think so. Maybe for me it is a little bit of insecurity and because of that I tend to put my writing last. I must get the housework and shopping etc done first because they are more important than my scribbling. This is a mindset I have yet to break, but believe me I am determined to do it. It would be pretty hypocritical of me to post this blog without confessing my own guilt around the subject. One of the things I would do well to remember, says my ever supportive husband, is that I have had many stories published in anthologies so my writing can hardly be called scribbling. Fair point Mr Kendrick.
Wikipedia cites the definition of procrastinaton as;
In psychology, procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of lower priority, or doing something from which one derives enjoyment, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time. In accordance with Freud, the Pleasure principle may be responsible for procrastination; humans do not prefer negative emotions, and handing off a stressful task until a further date is enjoyable. The concept that humans work best under pressure provides additional enjoyment and motivation to postponing a task. Some psychologists cite such behavior as a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision. Other psychologists indicate that anxiety is just as likely to get people to start working early as late and the focus should be impulsiveness. That is, anxiety will cause people to delay only if they are impulsive.
Interesting huh? Note that the very first line says replacing high-priority actions with tasks of lower priority. So there is the nub. How important is your work to you? More important than Facebook, Twitter and emails?
The definition above also mentions the stress of the higher priority task, which we have now decided is our writing. Many people, to whom I have mentioned that I am a writer have exclaimed that I have it easy, and in some respects I do. But that does not mean that writing isn’t stressful. Deadlines, plot lines, characters, and themes all make for an anxious time for a writer. But hey, don’t get me wrong I love what I do but to say it is not stressful is erroneous.
So reading back my post I think I will find it hard to justify my procrastination now. I have the solution. Check Facebook, Twitter etc before you start work and then shut down your internet (unless you need it for your work of course) and do not check it until you have reached your writing goal for that day.
Now why didn’t I think of that. 😉