Procrastinate, a verb defined by Dictionary.com as “to put off till another day or time; defer; delay”. Even the tone of the definition is negative and makes me feel bad for using it as the reason for my not writing. The old adage of not putting off till tomorrow what you can do today rings clearly in my ear. Honestly sometimes delaying action cannot be helped.
Sadly, I was doomed from the beginning. I wasn’t able to write a single word for NaNoWriMo. I had forgotten when it started, and it set the tone for the rest of the month. To be honest, it was a high goal, when faced with my day to day tasks.
How does one balance out his/her day to day life or the 9 to 5 job with the enormity of writing? One of the first books I read on Writing was Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memior of the Craft. The passage that resonated with me, in summary was if you wanted to be a writer, the first thing to do is to sit down and write. He acknowledges not everyone has the ability to write all day, everyday, and he suggests that no matter how long you have each day, you dedicate a certain amount of time each day to writing. It will then become a habit, and you will be on your way to being a writer. It could be 15 minutes, it could be 2 hours, the point is, you write.
I still remember the day I read this passage. I was riding the 110 into downtown Austin for work, and the words made me stare out the window in deep thought. My mind was racing with all the things and ideas I could accomplish with this new-found simplistic insight. The big question was and is, since this awoken my senses so many years ago, why haven’t I done it?
The answer is deep life-long procrastination. The way I see it, the physical act of putting off till another day isn’t necessarily for a selfish or self-wounding reason. It could be for very legitimate life roadblocks. Now my personal Life’s Little Hiccups, as a writer, Diana Stout describes this particular problem, are admittedly not as bad as what Diana writes in this beautiful and heart wrenching blog post. But, life did throw hiccups. Instead of scolding myself for it, I need to simply move forward. I love her last line, “Bottom line: I do well with deadlines. How about you?”. The challenge is accepted. I need to come up with a project and set a deadline ASAP, and then maybe I will start finally.