I came across this great article on the Atlantic.com website. It's by Megan Mcardle, and the title grabbed me because it picked on writers as being the worst procrastinators. You can read the article here:
The gist of the article is that writers are procrastinators because we often were the ones who excelled in English class in high school, and while our teachers were busy explaining mundane grammar rules to our fellow students who didn't "get it" as easily as we did, we were learning that we were smart and it came easy and we just understood things like grammar better than other people. In short, we learned that being smart and successful was "easy" and didn't take much work. This translates into our writing careers now as that writing and publishing should be easy. We shouldn't have to work that hard at it or, God forbid, fail at all, because it's always been easy for us. That "success in work depends mostly on natural talent."
We procrastinate because we fear failing, or submitting something that's "bad." We put it off until the last possible second, as a deadline looms, then turn something in. Because turning something in is better than not meeting that deadline.
I guess it's nice to know that I'm not alone, that I'm in good company when I procrastinate. But man, I hate that I do it! In fact, by writing this blog post I'm procrastinating right now. I should be working on my "elevator pitch" that I'm supposed to practice with my writer's group tomorrow. I should be working on a practice query letter for a writing conference I'm attending this Saturday, but I absolutely HATE query letters. I've been working on this letter for the past two days. It's killing me. It's harder to write then the darn book I've been writing! (Why are queries so challenging??).
The truth is, I spend most of my days procrastinating. My dad asks me all the time, "How's your writing coming along?"
"Great!" I lie. And then I think of how I've spent the last week doing things other than writing...
- researching colleges I think my daughter would like to visit (SHE should be doing this, not I!)
- email, email, email
- buying mums and pumpkins (things like this can always wait, can't they?)
- Candy Crush
- Words With Friends
- menu planning
So I'm going to stop procrastinating now and get back to work on my "practice" query letter.
Any writers' thoughts on procrastination and how you deal with it would be greatly appreciated! Let's commiserate!