Procrastinating and Deadlines
Before I started this blog, I decided that, instead of making things up spur-of-the-moment and trying to pull together a legible blog on writing with regular posts and no planning, I wanted to put together a schedule for at least three weeks before opening the blog. So before the opening post, before even the blog was created, I had three weeks of posts planned to be written.
The only thing that I missed was that, as most authors do, I have a strong amount of procrastination, which tends to interfere with deadlines and goals. Yesterday, I was supposed to write and post an article. Clearly that didn’t happen, and while I have excuses–even reasons–I doubted that you would like to hear them. While thinking today about whether or not I should just ignore the fact that I didn’t post it, post it today and apologize, or simply post it today, I came across something that I should have planned to post about, but didn’t.
Undoubtedly you’ve already guessed the topic of this post (the title also makes it fairly easy).
I don’t believe that I know of a single human being who has not, at some point, struggled from procrastination. Procrastination is a leading cause of failing to achieve…anything. But for writers, learning how to overcome procrastination is massively important.
I know of authors who have beat seemingly impossible odds to finish their books. While writing Wednesdays in the Tower, Jessica Day George was pregnant with a baby, had a baby, and spent time in the hospital while she and her baby had a potentially life-threatening disease. And yet she still finished the book. This shows an amazing amount of perseverance.
Anne Elisabeth Stengl entirely re-wrote her novel Veiled Rose in two months while being courted, proposed to, and planning a wedding. This shows an amazing amount of perseverance.
I see these things that writers have somehow managed to do, look at them wide-eyed for a second, and then shake my head. “There is no way,” I tell myself, “that I could manage that.”
I think that most of us couldn’t for the simple reason that we haven’t started training for it.
When runners run a marathon, they train. When knights prepared to fight a tournament or a war, they trained. When writers are serious about writing and being published, they should train also.
Being published means deadlines. Deadlines demand perpetual work, every day. Which means that procrastination has no place.
Since I have a goal to be published in the near future, this is something that I need to learn. As I am the Queen of Procrastination, I fear that it will take both a lot of work and a lot of will, as it does for everyone.
But, as writers, we have an obligation to readers. If we write blogs, we have a day-to-day obligation, and if we write novels that we plan on someday releasing to the public, we have an obligation to write them well and develop our craft and perseverance for the days we’ll need it (so that, ten days before a deadline, you don’t realize that you didn’t write a word of your novel).
As Christian writers, we have an obligation to God, to let our every task honor Him. Putting off writing does not seem to be the best way to do that. Do your best. If you’re going to take the time to write at all, do whatever you can to make it worth the time you’ve already spent. That includes not procrastinating. Make your writing worth having His name on it.
As people, we have an obligation to ourselves. If we avoid doing the things we ought to do, we reinforce bad habits in ourselves and cut down the quality of our writing by depriving ourselves of the time that it takes to perfect a skill.
Don’t keep what you’re going to do to yourself. Tell the world that you will be writing five hundred words by the end of tomorrow, and should your personality resemble mine in any way, you’ll be more likely to do it.
Train yourself. Get over procrastination. You won’t regret it in your writing or your life. I’ll do it with you.
What are ways that you deal with procrastination in your writing? Thoughts go in the box!