Monday, August 22, 2011

What is procrastination?

(Original is here)

I haven't done a writing advice post in a while, and, hey, somebody's gotta tackle that procrastination problem, right?
Er, yeah. 
I'm supposed to be editing right now. (PROCRASTINATOR!!!)

But procrastination... what is it, really (Gene Perret does an amazing post on "writer's block" here)? I agree with Mr. Perret: I think it's the quintessence of fear. We procrastinate because we fear the work we do won't be good enough. We procrastinate because we fear of rejections. We procrastinate because we fear of doing the actual work itself.

So how do we annihilate procrastination?

Well... we can't.

Procrastination is a crucial, almost feral part of who we are. It's extremely difficult to wipe out all traces and thoughts of procrastination. But there ARE ways we can help avoid it:

1) Create a schedule. Write down a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, or day-by-day schedule of what to get done. Recently, I've found myself on twitter one moment, and then two hours later I'm like, "What happened to those two hours?" But I'm one of those people who will stick with a plan. Get yourself a timer, because if you force yourself to focus specifically on your schedule (i.e. 10-11AM, editing), and use a timer to keep yourself on time, you will be surprised by the amount of work you can get done.
2) Incentives. Itching for that rerun of your favorite TV show tonight? Set yourself up for a work-and-reward scenario. Tell yourself that if you edit 10 pages today, you can watch that show. And ONLY if you finish editing those 10 pages. Ask someone in your family, or even a friend, to help you keep your promise. It'll help you get through the painstaking process!
3) Dream big. Sometimes, people would tell you to become a defensive pessimist ( meaning you always expect the worst) so that when something great happens, you'll be even more rejoiced by it. But sometimes we just want to give up. Sometimes it seems that whatever we're working on, it isn't good enough, isn't worth it, etc. But allow yourself, give yourself permission to dream big. Maybe the idea of being interviewed on television by your favorite show's cast members is just what it takes to get you motivated and work on that manuscript. Or becoming a bestselling author. That will help you remind yourself that for those things to become true, you'll need to work, and once you work, those things can happen.
4)Where there is better, there is worse.* It's absolutely factual that there will always be someone who is better at something than you. But the same goes vice versa--there is always someone who isn't as skilled as you in certain aspects, too. Don't ever forget that! If reading a faulty book and realizing that even that person managed to publish is what will motivate you, then do it! I know it's sad, but don't feel too bad--a book you didn't fall for, someone else fell head-over-heels for. Someone who seems better at certain things than you--you are better at those things than someone else. Remember that: With good there is bad, and with the bad there is hope.

That's it! Obviously, there are more to this list. Feel free to add them in the comments! I think I'm motivated enough now to go edit those pesky scenes! ;) Stay tuned!

 *This was added in through an update. Thanks to my friend KK for mentioning this!

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