As writers, procrastination is our form of kryptonite.
As I sit here writing this post, I’ve had to force myself to start typing. For two weeks now, I’ve been stuck in a procrastinating rut, blissfully ignoring the nagging flicker in the back of my brain that says I need to write another blog post, to start writing my novel once more.
“I’ve had work,” I say. “I’ve had uni study.” A plethora of excuses as to why I haven’t written race through my mind. Any reason to postpone my writing. But why?
I want to write, I know I need to write, but for some reason, I can’t will myself to. It’s like I’m stuck at the base of a mountain and I can see the path upwards, and the crest where I ought to be, but I can’t will myself to actually start climbing. So I continue to sit at the base of the mountain, ignoring the fact that the rocky cliff seems to be growing ever higher, the path more and more precarious and uninviting.
But why, if it’s so bad for us, do we allow ourselves to do it?
The Fear of Rejection
We fear that what we’re writing is worthless, that it isn’t any good. To conquer this fear, we give ourselves deadlines, but that only seems to exaggerate the procrastination and fear as we attempt to write the perfect piece in a shorter period of time. And the fear of not meeting the deadline, disappointing ourselves and others looms even larger.
But of course, most of the time, writing isn’t whether it’s good or bad, it’s just simply doing it, and honing our craft.
Sometimes your mind is just blank. You can’t think of any ideas, your mind can’t seem to string together an intelligible sentence. Why bother trying, if you just can’t do it. However, if we only started writing when we felt like it, we’d never write in the first place. Many of my greatest flickers of inspirations have come when I couldn’t stand the thought of sitting down and writing. There is something beautiful in chaos, and when your mind is finding it hard to concentrate at all, just focusing on words, whether they make sense or not, can uncover the most prolific ideas.
But how do we fight procrastination?
Like everything, it’s easier said than done, but Shia Lebouf puts it perfectly.
“JUST DO IT!”
Like I have said in my earlier posts, writing is simply a habit, not a skill. You have to practice it every day if you want to improve. Just doing a few sentences of writing a day, setting aside a specific time every morning, afternoon or evening, is not only crucial for developing your writing style but to stave away the dreaded habit of procrastinating.
And I can safely say, that by forcing myself to write this simple blog post, the mountain seems just that little bit smaller…