Mad Couscous Disease

The holidays are a big, gluttonous, steaming spoonful of welcome distraction.

I’ve been told I procrastinate because I’m a Sagittarius and all Sags do that. I’ve been told that I have a fear of failure/success/effort/ineptitude so I subconsciously put off doing what I know I need to do to reach my goals. I’ve been told my goals are too lofty and I’ll never succeed. That’s the one that hurts the most.

I sometimes agree and other times disagree with those assessments, depending on the day and how much the demon of self-doubt is scratching around the inside of my skull at the moment.

The truth is I piggyback onto procrastination because it’s the easiest excuse. I never want to admit that I have poor time-management or trouble prioritizing or that some days I just plain don’t feel like writing. So instead I allow myself to procrastinate; I know exactly what I’m doing and while I don’t approve of my behavior, I let myself get away with it. I’m a little tiny puppy who’s so excited to get outside I’m pulling on the leash and I’m far too cute to discipline, then one day I’m a 110 lb beast dragging my owner behind me down the sidewalk.

That’s exactly why I need to stop doing things like blaming procrastination or astrology or Freudian plagues of self-defeat for not finishing the current WIP. I don’t want to wake up one day to find that my manuscript is ripped and tattered, crusted with bird shit and grass stains from being neglectfully dragged through the years of my life.

I wipe the slate clean a lot, and I’m going to do it again now. You know how they say if you fall off the dieting bandwagon to just get back on the next day as if that entire pecan pie you ate by yourself didn’t happen? Well, once again (and not for the last time) I’m going to forget that on Saturday I did three loads of laundry instead of writing the next chapter for my book. And I’m going to forgive myself for running to the store on Sunday because I had to have couscous to serve with the fish. My goal isn’t to be one of those people who work 16-hours days; my goal is merely to become more efficient within the hours I have. I could have written a few pages in between folding clothes instead of watching a Julia Roberts movie marathon. I could have made the rice I already had instead of going out.

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” ~van Gogh

While this post is mainly about procrastination, motivation is a frequent bedfellow. Fortunately, I don’t have to go into that today because Jo Eberhardt has written a brilliant guest post that could have been extracted from my own head. Thanks for doing the grunt work for me, Jo! (And laying it out better than I could have.)

I turn the issue of procrastination to you, readers- Do you find creative ways to procrastinate? What are your coping strategies?

DH

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3 thoughts on “Mad Couscous Disease

  1. Jo Eberhardt says:

    Once upon a time, I was a mad procrastinator. These days I’m not sure whether it’s really procrastination or not. I mean, kids need to be fed, right? Floors need to be cleaned when you’ve got a baby rolling around on them. Etc etc. Possibly I’m a little more… over-zealous than I need to be in my cleaning sometimes. But I tell myself it’s okay, because I no longer watch TV at all. And as long as I manage a minimum of 10K words a month, I meet my own measure for success.

    I’m glad you enjoyed my post on motivation, too. It’s nice to know that we all go through the same things!

  2. Andrea S. Michaels says:

    Procrastination is very in with us writers. There are thousands of posts about it throughout the web (half of it is on my blog) because it’s easier to write about it than to fight it. And like you, I always let myself get away with it, saying, that’s just who I am. And it’s never been proved otherwise. But now, I can just taste the tiniest bit of success, as it looks like I’ll be able to win nano today, and it has made me wonder and ask me tough questions: have I just made up all along? Has it just been laziness and nothing else? But I think I’ll think about it some other time 🙂
    – andrea

  3. […] today, and while the atmosphere of the event motivates me to be productive even when I’d rather procrastinate some more, it’s also totally out of the range of my capabilities. There’s a breed of writers […]

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