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Procrastination and Devastation

 I REALLY hope you sung that to the tune of “Celebration” but if you’re not above the age of 40, then perhaps you didn’t, and this sentence is meaningless.

Also, right off the top, this is not really going to be about devastation because I actually just wanted to rhyme procrastination but not with celebration because, duh.

I am so sick of procrastination. I don’t think I realised how much it’s affected my life until maybe the last 4-5 years. For me it means wanting to DO the thing but being unable to do the thing and so doing other things to take away the guilt from not doing the thing.

So more specifically, I want to create something. I don’t even know what I want to create, which doesn’t help, does it? But I know that creating something fills a void in me that nothing else can. It’s the only thing that makes me proud, other than my kids. (Gus would call me cringe for saying that and to be honest, I feel it too).

I’ve always been creative. I mean, not that I think of myself as “a creative” Lol NO. But as a kid I loved drawing, I loved making cartoons and writing stories with these cartoons. I was lucky enough to take art at uni and spend 3 years partying and painting. Bliss!

However, I wasn’t very good at the painting bit. I can paint things to look like other things. I’m not rubbish at the skill of painting or drawing. But I am not great. And most importantly, I never ever knew what to paint. My final year project was loosely based on the theme of voyeurism because we’d discussed it’s use in art in my gender studies course. But what that ended up looking like was some dull paintings out of windows and then big, crazy caricatures of local characters (which now seems quite snarky and mean).


I was never going to “make it” as an artist. I did want to get into the art world though. I loved discussing art. I wanted to be an art critic for a time, but I did absolutely nothing to make this happen.

So, I drifted from job to job, trying to find one that met my need for creativity with my need to pay my rent. With a lot of, I now realise, procrastination and virtually no direction. For years I thought it was down to a lack of confidence. Lots of peers from uni and school seemed to easily find themselves getting into successful careers. I thought, extremely shamefully, that I was too scared to get a “proper” job. It wasn’t that I was scared. It was that I was a procrastinator. And without defined goals I wasn’t going anywhere fast.

Skip forward to 2012, when I desperately needed a new novel way to motivate weight loss in preparation for a second pregnancy, hopefully less ill than the first time! I started a blog. And I found that I LOVED writing. I loooooooooooved it. And it came, at that time, with an ace community of people who also loved writing about their lives too.

Once my blog became about parenting and honesty was my big thing (cos as we know, I am a chronic over sharer!) I had a little tiny sniff of success by being up for a national blog award. I was so proud. Finally, I was producing something that made me feel good!

But things change. The blogging (writing) scene that I was part of started to morph. The written word was being eschewed for vlogs. And You Tube “lifestyle” vlogs were becoming more popular. I tried to keep up with this, but I have no capacity for attention to detail. I can’t edit videos with any skill or panache. I remember a vlog I made of a conference and the conference creator openly laughing at how bad it was. Eek.

I didn’t want to do videos really. I liked making people laugh but writing was where I felt my strength was. But by that time, my attention span ran out.

I got it into my head that I should write a novel. I’ve told almost everyone I know what my brilliant plot idea is. I’ve never written a page. I can’t! I’ve signed up for 2 online courses to help me write my brilliant (!) novel. I can’t finish them. I DON’T LIKE IT!!!!!!!

In order to not do the thing, I should be doing, I will do LOADS of other things. Organise my cupboards, sort the kids’ clothes, randomly re arrange furniture. Re decorate an area (and give up before it’s quite complete making it look worse than before I started).

WHY did I think writing a novel would be possible for me? I haven’t written fiction since I was in high school.

I can, however, do infrequent writing about not writing on a shiny new platform. It’s not intellectual. It’s not entertaining. It’s not earth shattering. But It’s something I am able to do right now.

So here we are. You, dear reader, are easing my guilt just by being here. THANK  YOU!


A recent effort only completed by the accompaniment of a friend, a step by step tutorial and wine.

Ps: I looked up some reasons why people procrastinate. I’ve copied the ones that resonate below. Do any resonate with you?

  • Prioritization of short-term mood (i.e., preferring to feel better right now even if this will lead to feeling worse later).
  • Task aversiveness (i.e., thinking a task is frustrating, boring, or unpleasant in another way).
  • Delayed outcomes (e.g., due to discounting of rewards that will only be given in the far future).
  • Low motivation (e.g., due to low-value outcomes).
  • Expected effort (e.g., due to hard tasks).
  • Inertia (i.e., the tendency to keep doing what you’re already doing).
  • Abstract goals (i.e., ones that aren’t clearly defined).
  • Time-management issues (e.g., failure to prioritize tasks).
  • Problematic traits (e.g., impulsivity).
  • Underlying behaviors (e.g., rebellion against an authority figure !!!!!!!!!!!!!).
  • Low capacity for self-control 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Omg are we twins cos same. Want to write a book but never even attempted it so why do I say I want to when I know it’s not likely, who knows! Jealous my husband has written a few and even gets the odd few pennies, literally 3p last month, but I’m so proud and a tiny bit jealous thankfully mostly proud. Feelings are hard. Had recent diagnosis of ocd but not the acceptable cleaning thing but skin picking and horrible thoughts and feelings of inadequacy. So nothing but the bare minimum is done then I hate myself and so goes the circle round and round. Anyway he started with short stories and built up so maybe baby steps to break the procrastination.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh thank you for this Emma. I skin pick constantly! That's interesting. Short stories is a great way to start. Maybe even like a one paragraph story and build it up, like couch to 5K for writers!

    ReplyDelete

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