Right now I’ve got a story sitting on my desktop. It has review notes, sentences that need to be spiced, and a more meaningful ending waiting to be written. I tell myself I need to give it time, let it simmer around in my mind until the perfect words flow from my fingers. I dream about my story becoming magically awesome and before I know it it’s bedtime. I’m excited about what tomorrow will bring.
Tomorrow is here and do I get these things on my list done? No. I add more things like: vacuum, organize kids toys, alphabetize the soup cupboard. Do I get those things done? Maybe the alphabetizing–but then while I do that I think of how I want to take the kids for a walk down to the creek and how I need to look up how to get tree sap out of nose hair (don’t ask….just please don’t ask). While I’m on the computer I end up googling something completely different because a story idea popped into my head or an idea for a blog post. If things go really down hill, I check my email and that’s the end of any production for the day.
Procrastination is a ten-tentacled monster, its limbs caress me and each one points me in a different direction. It has the ability to make be believe I’ll get rewarded if I do something short now, rather than something hard that will take longer for any benefit. And it’s right. I get an instant zing when I google about tree sap, I get a zing when I check my email to find cute cat picture forwards, and I get a zing when I pretend any of this will help me write another story.
Worst of all Procrastination wants to eat my brains. It turns me into a googling web surfing mindless zombie that works for marshmallows. Sweet tiny rewards that taste good but do nothing for me—in the long run. Marshmallow rewards will hurt me.
Procrastination is sneaky. I start out a writing session with the best of intensions and bam before I know it I’m chewing on a marshmallow reward, usually brought on by ‘research.’
I’m finding ways to trick the morbid octopus-like-space-creature. For example, I made a list of things that are highly rewarding to me, like reading, and set them up as a reward if I get to a word count before the end of a session. It works. When I come up with a phrase of words or word while writing and I want to roll in it like a dog in garbage, I stop the victory dance and keep going. I’ll roll in it later and often times I figure out that once I get going I actually write much better without the interrupting internet searches.
Procrastination can try all it wants to eat my brains. I feel like I’ve found a secret weapon and maybe after a while it will figure out my brains are just empty calories and find some other bloke to wrap its slimy little fingers around.
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