Writers as a Group are Well Known for Their Exceptional Talent in the Realm of Procrastination
Add in what I believe is a tendency in many creative types towards ADD/ADHD and you see procrastination raised to an art form, worthy of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel (which, by the way, leads me to believe that by today’s standards, Michelangelo himself would have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. How else could he hyper-focus and spend the hours necessary to complete such an amazingly massive, intricately detailed work?) Allow me to give you an example of a typical day in the life of a writer.
After coffee and a light breakfast, the Writer sits down at her desk to begin working on one of her many current projects.
Noticing that her water glass is empty, she picks it up and takes it to the kitchen for a refill.
In the kitchen, she notices that there are dirty dishes on the counter, but the dishwasher is full of clean dishes.
She unloads the clean dishes, rinses and puts the dirty ones in the dishwasher.
Looking out the window, she notices that the plants need watering, and goes outside to turn on the hose to irrigate the planters.
Leaving the water running, she goes back inside, retrieves her now full water glass and returns to her office.She sets her water glass down and notices that her makeup bag is still on the desk where she left it before going out the night before.
She takes her makeup bag to the bathroom and puts it away in its drawer, then notices that the cat’s litter box needs scooping. She scoops all of the litter boxes, takes the poo filled bag to the garage, puts another bag in the wastebasket and washes her hands.
She returns to the den to select a project and notices that she has a new email.
Opening the email program, she stops, listens, then realizes that she’s left the water running for the last hour and has now flooded the entire yard.
Lest you think this is an anomaly, believe me, this is a typical day unless extreme self-control is exercised to stay on task. The good news is, if such control is applied, the Writer will continue working for hours at a time, stopping only to refill her water glass or answer nature’s call. Today, for example, I completed 12 parts of a freelance writer’s course, wrote this blog post and am 500 words into another I hope to publish on Huffington Post. The bad news is, this diligence must be practiced daily in order to achieve proficiency and combat the natural tendency towards procrastination.
This doesn’t even begin to cover all of the other enemies to productivity a Writer faces.
Another personal favorite of mine is the “Brilliant Idea”. These often come when you’re in the middle of something else, requiring you to stop and write the idea down (as well as a dozen or so opening paragraphs, lest the idea which exploded in your mind fully formed decides to self-destruct before being added to that growing list called “Projects in Process”.)
Speaking of Projects in Process, it is a good idea to keep a weekly To Do list as well, to ensure that the daily, weekly and monthly tasks find a way to be addressed at some point. My own list includes the following:
1. Brush teeth-morning
2. Brush teeth-evening
3. Take all vitamins and supplements
4. Pick up produce box
5. Grocery shop
6. Cook (chili, stir fry, spaghetti sauce, etc.) when my freezer full of single meals is running low.
7. Blog post-word count
8. Project #1-time and word count
9. Study whatever course I happen to be doing this week (and it is often more than one)
10. Read about writing
11. Go to the gym (and this one has now been broken out into my three workouts, plus a line for crunches and squats)
Anyway, I’m sure you get the picture. With a mind going in 17,000 different directions at any given time, the only way to assure myself that I’m doing the things which are necessary to daily life and health is to hold myself accountable. Of course, the To Do list has a secondary advantage. My equally ADHD daughter gets a bit twitchy if one of my home improvement projects sits on the To Do list for too long, especially if boxes of hardware or racks of clothes are smacking her in the eye every time she visits. Case in point: the towel bar and toilet paper holder I bought over a year ago to match the faucet, shelf and vanity I put into my master bath were, until yesterday, collecting dust in the guest room closet. They now look rather nice, attached to the walls where they belong. And last week, I moved all of the clothes from my bedroom closet to a rolling clothes rack in preparation for pulling up the carpet from the last carpeted room in my house. Before she left yesterday, she informed me that if it wasn’t up by the time she returned in a couple of weeks, she would help me do it. I love my daughter. She keeps me honest, even with myself.
Procrastination, a gazillion unfinished tasks and a longer than necessary path to publication aside, the Writer’s life is still for me!
To normal people, this life might appear to be chaotic and crazy making (I know my OCD friends are probably losing brain cells just reading my rambling) but for those who must write to live, to breathe, to retain a modicum of sanity, it is absolutely, positively, unequivocably perfect.
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my crazy, busy, weird, chaotic life.
2. I am grateful for the things which are steering me closer to a life as a real, published freelance writer.
3. I am grateful for the people who share their experiences in order that the rest of us can make one or two less mistakes along the way. I’m talking, right now, about Holly Lisle and Gina Horkey. Thank you for all you do!
4. I am grateful for a busy day, even if an outsider would see no apparent progress.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, joy, writing, inspiration, sharing, peace, harmony, health and prosperity.
And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and my website, www.shericonaway.com. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!