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The Gentle Art of Procrastination

Well, folks, I’ve put off writing this one for as long as I can. It’s a sensitive subject that isn’t fully recognized because of the stigma attached to it. And yet, so many of us suffer from it that I think it’s time to shine a light on it, tough as that may be.

That’s right, I’m talking about procrastination. Sure, we say we’re going to deal with it but we never seem to get around to it. There’s always one more thing to do first. I’ll freely admit to you right now that my house is never cleaner than when I have a writing deadline or a lot of lines to memorize.

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Like many others, possibly even you, I have a painful story of struggle with procrastination, and I am so going to get around to telling you about it… sometime. This topic is so relatable that I fully expect that this blog entry alone will be optioned by Lifetime for a powerful movie of the week by the time you’ve finished reading it. Who knows? Maybe they’ll hire me to write the script for it. And I will, as soon as I clean the house, go grocery shopping, check facebook and get a good night’s sleep.

Here are some of the fun ways I procrastinate:

1. cleaning house

2. doing laundry

3. facebook

4. napping

5. grocery shopping

6. other errands that suddenly have to be done asap

7. organizing my office

8. calling friends

9. checking email, cnn.com, etc.

10. watching TV

11. watching my kitties do any of the many things that kitties do.

For me the only cure is a deadline. If I have to get it done by a certain date then sooner or later it’s going to get done, usually by that date. This is why I created a writer’s group with my friend Drea The Awesome. I knew that with my full time job and other time constraints the writing that was stirring up imagination tornadoes in my brain was not going to get written unless someone was impatiently expecting to see it. And that plan is working better than I’d hoped in that I am now a part of an incredibly talented group of fantastic and generous writers but the truth is that I still procrastinate like crazy and I squeeze the writing in to the very last minutes and then usually only do the minimum.

Procrastination is also the main reason this blog is published every week. If I didn’t have a deadline then you might not get any kind of regular posting here. I’ve been doing this blog for nearly a year and without Tuesday morning screaming at me there might not be more than a couple posts here. However, I’ve written some stuff I’m really proud and I’m so happy that I have this outlet and that I use it.

That’s a lot of stuff to get done! So now for the mother of all deadlines, I have signed up for National Novel Writing Month, which is where you go when you think you can actually write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days (that’s about 175 pages). My friend John broke it down to me like this: That’s only 1600 words per day. It’s definitely going to be a challenge and I won’t break my own kneecaps if I don’t finish but the challenge is going to be exhilhirating. I hope. It will probably also be a very frustrating struggle between staying on schedule and battling the procrastination monster. I’m not even worried about what I’m going to write about. The main thing is just to get it done. Everything else is gravy.

Should you decide to join me in this crazy endeavor you can sign up here and then let me know and we’ll tell each other to ‘get back to work!’ as needed. I’ll keep you all posted on how it’s going.

While putting off writing this blog I found this great article about how to make your procrastination work for you. Check it out, especially if you have more important things to do. I mean, this blog is only getting finished because I have a big writing deadline on something else.

What’s your best procrastination trick?

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