Monday, December 29, 2014

Writer's Procrastination

December twenty-ninth.

The last time I worked on anything was December eighth...when I edited the first half or so of my fifteen page memoir piece, London. I left off right before recreating a conversation with an abusive boyfriend, and I planned on writing it today. But, as I face the page, I just really don't wanna!

All month, when I come to my "office" to write, I first take care of business. Which is great - needs to be done - massage clients notes, billing, budget updating, newsletter writing, social media posting (the biggest time drain of all, amirite?) etc. By the time I've cleared all that, I usually don't have enough time to really get into writing or editing anything creative. Not good news!

Rather than sit here and tell you all the ways I have mastered the art of procrastination, I am going to take a look at some possible reasons WHY I have been putting off the thing that I love. Perhaps, you will see yourself in some of these? Let me know in the comments.

  1. I don't wanna. It is not fun to dredge up the past, which is pretty much a requirement for memoir writing. At the point I am at, now, I need to recreate a conversation. It was a pleasant conversation, about getting to know a new boyfriend, before he went all evil on me. I just...cringe at the thought of getting back into that headspace, even though it was like twenty-five years ago. I am going to have to, eventually, if I want to finish this piece, which I do. I really do. So, I must let that be my motivation, I think. 
  2. New draft. "Hey, how's that novel?" excited friends ask. "I have to start the sixth draft," I've been saying for the past six or seven months. But, I still haven't started it. It's not even that high a number - six - I am sure most published novels hit ten, twelve, twenty drafts before they are "done," but I am still dreading the work. But, I am also excited about it, so why the delay, self? I have ideas to implement, a waiting editor to help with revisions, yet I procrastinate, still.
  3. I have other, newer ideas... I have promised myself to begin other projects AFTER I have finished the ones on my plate. It's like veggies before dessert, right? Especially since that has been my tendency forever - abandon one project to start the shiny new one. I have been great at working past that the past few years, but I seem to be stalling,
  4. Writing is hard. Sure, I love it. I am a creative, expressive person that thrives under pressure and needs an outlet. My head is constantly filled with ideas, what if's, and quirky characters to play with. But, let's face it, writing isn't easy. If it was, everyone would do it, the saying goes. Sometimes, I am at a loss, halfway through, as to what the hell is going on or where the story is headed. Sometimes, that part comes pretty easily, but then I struggle with editing. Killing off characters, clarifying character motivation, deleting scenes that don't forward the plot... and, in memoir, it is a completely different kind of hard. I have to re-inhabit the person I was in the past; re-identify with my younger self's  perspective, beliefs, experience, and expectations. I am essentially time-travelling to be with the people that hurt me, the people and events that changed me, and made me who I am today. Rewarding, yes, but not easy. I've always had difficulty with emotions, which is one of the reasons I have incorporated memoir into my writing life, to help me connect and relate and convey those emotions that we all experience in life. But, it ain't easy being green. 
  5. I don't manage my time well. I live the way I want, for the most part, on my own schedule, but since I don't think I'm ever gonna get that Magic Stopwatch I want, I would really like to reorganize my time more efficiently. For instance, I generally go to bed around 5 or 6 am. I sleep until I have to get up for work or some other appointment - it may be ten-thirty, it may be one pm, it might not be until four. I get up, go do whatever it is I need to do, grab dinner and come home. My husband goes to bed early, so we may have an hour to eat and watch TV, or he may already be in bed when I get home, depending on the day. My schedule varies. I value my alone time - from nine or ten at night until I go to sleep - and usually watch NetFlix/TV, read books, interact on social media, play word games on my phone, take baths, meditate, go for midnight walks when the weather allows, etc. etc. It is important to have that down time, which isn't always down, since I do a lot of inner work and brainstorming at night. But I don't write at night much anymore, since I don't have a good physical set up for it, and the cats want to occupy my lap incessantly. I am considering getting a new desk.

    Through years of NaNoWriMo, I have developed a pretty good routine for regular writing. I can do it in twenty-minute bursts, though I prefer ninety or one-twenty, and I always have my laptop with me. 
What about you? How do you put off writing and editing? Or do you? Do you know why? Please share your experiences... and any tips!

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