Obviously, it’s been a little while since I’ve written a post. I have,however, been keeping up with my ‘Novel Mom’ Instagram page (check me out!), and decided to start a “Monday Musings” weekly post. The idea was that they would be all my own words; a quote or just a random thought I’d had that I felt was share-worthy. I intended to carry that into this blog, but i’ll get to that later. It was also another attempt at giving myself some semblance of accountability when it comes to my writing. I have the unfortunate affliction of not actually hitting my full motivation potential unless I’m in a deadline-induced panic. This has basically always been the case, at least since I was old enough to have any kind of responsibility that required a finishing date/time management.
The reason it’s something I have to put so much effort into, is because I am-in every sense possible-a chronic procrastinator. But not only am I a level-10 procrastinator; I also have ADHD, minus the hyperactivity part. If you aren’t familiar, that’s where I get all of the inadequate focusing/time management ability but without the extra energy part. Short end of the diagnosis stick, if you ask me. So, frankly, it’s actually kind of shocking that I even managed to create this blog in the first place.
Not shockigly, I did not do very well academically in grade school. But when I got to college something clicked and I did end up doing pretty darn well somehow. (My theory is that it was because I was no longer being “forced” to go to school and learn mostly useless drivel; instead it was my choice and the major/classes I chose were also my choice. Side note: I’m also stubborn). I made it through undergrad and grad school successfully but let there be no confusion-I made it through those years almost entirely by cramming for exams in the 24-48 hours prior, and staying up all night finishing papers that were due the next day. That is just how I operate. I NEED THE PANIC. GIVE ME ALL THE PANIC.
Fast forward to now. I’m no longer in school, and luckily I have a good amount of flexibility in my career (which I’ve only been back into for about two years following three years I took off to be at home with my kids). There really hasn’t been much I’ve been involved in that required me to meet any deadlines.*
*Other than the usual ‘household management’ type things: bills,chores, things required by children’s schools, etc. These almost always got pushed until the last-minute as well until my phone calendar alerted me in the not-so-subtle tone I set, resulting in my “Oh shit,I have to _____!” response.
That was until I woke up that fated morning nearly three years ago and decided to write a novel. In my writing process -which, let’s face it,the fact that I started this project three years ago speaks for itself -the procrastination also comes out in the form of deciding I need to do character research instead of write, or decide the names of all of my ancillary characters before I write, or make my desk look super cute before I write.
I’ve joined online writing message boards and also follow a lot of my favorite authors on social media. I’ve seen them posting about starting their new projects, sharing photos of themselves in various aesthetically pleasing locations working on those projects, and then posting 3-6 months later that they’ve finished them. This sometimes helps to give me a little “kick in the pants” for my own project, but sometimes it just starts me on a “what is wrong with me, why can’t I be that committed and finish this??”downward mental spiral. This is also sometimes followed by a Pinterest/Instagram black hole of searching ‘cute writing spaces’ and/or old-fashioned typewriters overlaid with inspirational writing quotes. (Don’t lie, you’ve done it too) Social Media is the procrastinators masochistic weapon of choice…but that’s a subject that could use its own post. But don’t hold your breath until I post it.
My last post, about not “shoulding” on yourself, was a proclamation that it was something I was going to try very hard to stop doing. I can say that I’ve definitely caught myself more and the amount of “shoulding” has drastically decreased. So,this post is a proclamation that procrastinating is something I’m going to try very hard to stop doing. It’s a work in progress…and i’m not going to lie, it’s a lot harder of a habit to break than the former. A few of the things I’m doing to combat it for myself are:
- Schedule a usual weekly time for writing (and recruiting my husband to force me to stick to it)
- I carry paper and pen with me everywhere to document when inspiration strikes
- Use my blog and instagram for accountability to practice my writing and get it out “there” for feedback
- I fashioned a “SAW”(the movie) -like torture device that I can set a timer on, and if I don’t complete task-x by a certain time it goes off.
- Just kidding on that last one…I’m have ADD not criminal psychosis. Not usually anyway.
Now you may be saying, “But um, R.- today isn’t Monday…it’s Saturday.” To which I say, yes, you are indeed right…and I do plan to post some type of musing not only to my Instagram but also here every Monday moving forward. I did fully intended to write a “Monday Musings” post this past Monday. But that didn’t happen, because procrastination.
*I’d love to hear from some of you who might have/had the same problem and what you do to combat it, so leave me a comment with your ideas!*