On Overcoming Procrastination

It’s been a while since I’ve written. It’s easy to put off the things you love when the things you hate take up so much of your time. I find myself making excuses: I’m tired, I’m an adult so I can do what I want, I’ll write when I have the actual time and drive. But working full time has definitely taught me something: you’ll never have the time and drive. During the Summer of Unemployment, I couldn’t write anything because nothing was inspiring me. These days, I get little bouts of inspiration, but my ideas look thin when typed up, like they’ll lift off the page of their own accord, letter by letter, floating off like dandelion seeds to someone who will do something grand with them. Or, actually do anything with them. It’s like having a huge assignment looming; the massive size of it crushes you underneath so you can’t even type one word or make one step. When you start, you’re committing yourself to the Giant Thing and there’s no going back to procrastinating free time. James was telling me he was feeling anxious because of the massive amount of work he knew he had in his near-future, studying for his nursing certification tests. I gave him some sage advice, “Just give yourself tiny little deadlines. Say, today I will finish this one chapter or master this one concept. That way, you’ll meet goals every day and get to feel good about it. Baby steps.” (This coming from the girl who did all her studying the whole day before the test, or the whole paper the day before its due date.) One of the cool things about being in a relationship is that you can tell the other person what you know you should be telling yourself, and you’ll come off as wise and supportive instead of self-deluding. At least I’m doing one thing right. Writers all say the same thing, “Force yourself to write or you won’t write at all.” It feels good to know there’s a network out there that has the same fear-cum-procrastination as me. It’s like starting a diet or an exercise regimen; you just have to be your own bully. I want to follow the write-one-page-first-thing-in-the-morning system, but I can’t see myself actually doing it. I guess the only person who can force myself to do anything is me, right? One can only forcibly change oneself. I heard this Kaiser commercial on the radio a little while ago, and a comforting woman is saying, “So you slept in this morning instead of doing that early work-out. You ate the extra piece of cake… It doesn’t matter, you can take two steps forward and one step back, and that’s still progress.” So maybe that’s what I really need to do for now; not become a bestselling author right this minute, just write a blog post. Patience. Baby steps.

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