Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2 (I’ve been procrastinating)
This Camp NaNoWriMo, and we’re just past the two week mark, I’ve been guilty of procrastination. Hello, my name is Burgess Taylor, and I am a procrastinator. The ironic thing is that I’ve been procrastinating with things that I also love to do, as well as things that I don’t really even care to do–things like washing dishes, laundry, cleaning the bathroom. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also been procrastinating with things like Netflix, Hulu, reading, making videos, and social media (FB, YT, etc). I do and don’t consider spending time with family procrastinating, unless of course I initiate a Netflix marathon for me and Mr. Rockstar, which I have done, and I’ve let him convince me to do–and it was so hard to convince me to put off my writing to watch Wayward Pines on Hulu, or to watch most of the show Prison Break on Netflix. 😀 And yet, I was productive… most of the time when I watch TV I journal, and sometimes I write by hand. But this time, and maybe it’s because I still don’t have my laptop, I have not been writing nearly as much each day, or every day, the way I have during previous Camp’s.
What is procrastination? The action of delaying or postponing something. Why do we procrastinate? Many experts will tell you that we procrastinate to avoid or put off doing something we don’t want to do, but when I was working through Julia Cameron’s self-guided course “The Artist Way” I learned that most of us procrastinate because of fear. Fear of failure or fear of success. There are also chronic procrastinators. Some procrastinate because of the thrill of doing things at the last minute, it’s an adrenaline rush I suppose. And some procrastinate because they are poor decision makers. Whichever type of procrastinator you are, if you’re a creative person, I’m betting that it’s the FEAR that is keeping you from creating–from writing, drawing, etc. For me, it’s the FEAR.
On a scale of 1-10, when my anxiety is running on overdrive because I feel like I’m a failure I feel like I’m at about a 6, and then I start thinking that I suck as a writer, or maybe I’m not really a writer, maybe I am just an impostor–a wannabe writer… I am most likely going to put off writing and then I’m at about an 8. I will sit down at the computer and look at the screen and my thoughts race but all my mind seems like it is filled with is how badly my writing sucks, or how I’m lying to myself if I think I’m ever going to get my book published or even if I self publish that the chances of anyone buying my book are slim, especially liking my book. The procrastination meter goes up with each of those self defeating thoughts, with all of that self doubt. Fear leads to self doubt, to procrastination, to guilt, and depression, and even more anxiety, and all of those just feed the fear, which feeds the procrastination, and before I know it the procrastination meter is in the red zone and I haven’t gotten any writing done that day, or maybe in days, and if it’s really bad in weeks, or even months.
That vicious cycle can be broken though. It can be overcome. Procrastination can be overcome. How? Well, here are a few things I’ve learned over the years. Things I have to remind myself of when the Procrastination Monster wages war in my life…
- Remind myself it’s just fear, and fear is my enemy so I find a way to refresh my mind, to stop that vicious cycle in its tracks. Sometimes it’s a long walk, sometimes it’s to grab my notebook and pen and go outside and write–no internet, no phone, no social media… just me, the fresh air and sunshine, and my pen and notebook. Other times I go for a cup of java and take my notebook and pen (I used to take my laptop but it’s still not fixed, unfortunately).
- Have a bit of fun in regard to my writing… do something creative with my writing. Maybe it’s a jar of ideas, or some writing prompts, or a reward system. Maybe it’s word sprints. Maybe it’s a live write in with Tamara Woods (PenPaperPad.com) or the WordNerds.
- And if all else fails, I think of the accountability factor… Here I am on a public forum (YT, IG, Twitter, WordPress, Camp NaNoWriMo Cabin, etc) stating that I’ve got this 30K goal, that I’m a writer, and well….writer’s write, right? So why am I not writing? If I tell others that I’m writing, that my goal is this amount and I should be writing this amount per day then I need to hold myself accountable. I also need to follow my own advice. I can’t expect others to follow my advice if I don’t. And, last but not least, what kind of writer buddy would I be if I bailed just because I felt a little stuck with a scene, or if I felt stuck with a chapter, or if I let the fear of being a failure or of succeeding keep me from finishing my Witchy Business Book that so many people say they want to read??????
We all have good days and bad days. This Camp NaNoWriMo I’ve had more than my share of both, but what I have not really done is put my ass in the chair the way I need to, the way I know that I can, and get to work on my novel. I know that I can do it! I believe in myself. Despite the doubt. Despite the fear and the procrastination, the guilt. I also know that I am not alone in my procrastination. If you’ve procrastinated or if you’re procrastinating, comment down below. Maybe offer a bit of advice about what has helped you overcome or even avoid procrastination. As I type this my video about Procrastination is uploading. And this blog post is so far at 994 words… so that’s almost 1000 words I’ve written in just this short period of time. Will I count this towards my writing for today? No. But it is filling the creative well and that’s a good thing. Now, I feel more like writing. Now I think I can put those words on that screen in Scrivener. Now, I am going to say adieu for now and go work on my novel…
I really hope you’ll comment below, and that you’ll take a few minutes to watch the video.