Thursday, 20 June 2013

Beware Procrastination Demons

- Guest Post by Madeleine McLaughlin

In a perfect world, I would jump up every morning at five AM and settle down in front of my computer to write. The word I need to use would be swimming in front of my eyes instead of locked somewhere in my foggy brain.

But no, it isn’t so.

Well, I do get up early. Sometimes as early as four AM, but it never goes that smoothly. First, I need to check my e-mails. This is a must. Then I go to my critique sites and other assorted sites that could well be put off for a time. I feel I need a warm-up.

It’s so easy to get sidetracked. Checking Amazon rankings and such can fill up your writing time like nothing else. And that’s just the computer stuff. There’s other things. How simple to say to yourself. “I need to think about this for awhile.” And walk out the door for a walk, especially in the nice weather we’re having now. Sun is shining and the breeze is mild. Why not spend your day outside?

But at some time during the day, you’re going to write. Maybe evening in front of the TV, maybe you are one of the disciplined ones who get up and write. Good for you.

You need to remember you’re not alone in your rituals to put off your writing. You need to remember that you will get it done. Some people need to work up to things. In my opinion and what works for me, is my notebook. When I find myself procrastinating, I just pick it up and write in old-fashioned long-hand.

For some reason, this feels more comfortable to me and enables me to let loose and get the writing flowing. It helps ideas come and become more cohesive. I mean, who wants to wreck their computer-work with stream-of-consciousness ideas? But this loosening up is, to me, the key to ending procrastination and getting things done.

I don’t know what I would do without my notebook. I can sit in my easy chair and balance the book on the armrest and write. Just anything that I need to and explore ideas. For me, this works because of the freedom to explore that I just don’t find I have when staring at a composition on my computer screen.

And I enjoy sitting with my notebook. I make sure it’s a nice one with a hard cover, no use making things difficult, and it’s like having a book open in front of me. Since a great portion of my life has been spent with a book on my knee, it just feel more comfortable to me than a computer.

Now I’m not saying get rid of your technology. Just that the immediacy of a hard-cover notebook with blank pages in front of you, lets you ‘go crazy’. Experiment with words and characters. Try new plot developments. Anything your heart desires and you’re not wrecking your computer saved MS.

Most of all, I don’t worry about what I do. If I miss a work time, I can do it later. Now, I can hear all you disciplined people shuddering with horror but I’ve actually done good work in the evenings with my notebook and my computer. The procrastination demons might get you from time to time but as long as you find yourself a way to get around them, they won’t control you and keep you from doing what you love to do: WRITE.

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