Have you ever started something only for something else to come up, making you drop the original thing you were doing, later forgetting about it completely?
I can’t say I haven’t.
When it comes to writing–from all of the professional writing seminars and online lessons, to some podcasts on youtube discussing motivation and, of all things, exercise–there is this idea of consistency and intensity1 I found out about recently. For me, consistency is more important than intensity. That goes for working out and working on my writing.
I find it amazing how some people can write 2, maybe 3 thousand words daily. I know someone who can write in a week, what I write in a month. It’s not demotivating now only because I’ve got work, I am studying and saving for a certification in something completely unrelated to writing, and I’m doing some volunteering on the side, so I’ve got some excuses…
For me finding the time to write is definitely difficult. I found out I am the kind of writer that needs a lot of focus and time, but the results still never are six to ten pages in four hour sessions. Sometimes, I could write a thousand and a half words within an hour, and it would simply flow out of me because the story and the characters I am writing about just work and I can see everything that I need in my head. The flow state, the muse sitting upon my lap, its great.
Most times this is not the case.
Usually I struggle to write 500-700 words for the novel I’m working on, usually in the morning before work. If I’m not studying in the evening, I write a page or two for a current short story project. But there are times where so much as getting out of bed is a struggle. Call it laziness, call it depression, call it lack of motivation–whatever you want.
Then, when the muse does not sit upon my shoulder, and even if I’ve got a synopsis and a treatment down, even when I made note of the themes and what I want the story to evoke, I’ll get distracted by re-organising my Onenote notebooks, or I’ll notice the font on my category and serial Stories feed is too big in size on the mobile platform and the website building company has never implemented the option to make it possible to change it (It’s what happens when mismanaged tech companies roll out amazing new systems without testing, but that is for a rant on twitter)
Can you see how I went on a tangent there?
But I found procrastination to not be the disease that stems from laziness and work-avoidance, but rather a symptom of working [too hard]. For me, if I go for a week without taking a break, reading a book, playing a video game or watching a film, I feel burned out. In the past this has resulted in me stopping work (creative and study, obviously I still gotta dredge through my day job) and recovering by being otherwise unproductive with my time for days or even weeks.
Thus I would go on a cycle of disappointment, encumbered forever by desire and ambition2, my self loathing brain would torture my psyche causing my shell of a body to be capable of only staring at a white ceiling, paralysed by the gravity of guilt due to not progressing with my hopes and dreams.
I might have a flare for melodrama.
What I am trying to say is procrastinating doesn’t have to be a waste of time, or even considered a waste of time. We are humans, and we’re allowed to have other interests and to step outside of the bubble of aspiring authors or business career chasers.
I found that by playing some games and watching films, I can find inspiration for my stories, and for my novel. Similarly, watching youtube videos on the differences between index funds and exchange traded funds or learning to use Microsoft Visio and Project by using them for my creative projects, helps me develop transferable skills for my other goals. I guess you could say I’ve found strategies to synergise™ my creative side with my professional goals.
Also 100% of maps I create, I do so because I am avoiding working on something, due to issues described above.
Though I can offer no advise that will be guaranteed to work when anyone else comes across such an obstacle in their life, whether in a creative or professional pursuit, I cannot stress enough how much knowing yourself is important.
Know your limits, look at what other people are doing for inspiration and for anything that you could be doing better, look at their successes but also their mistakes, however do not compare your results to theirs. I will likely never write 3 thousand words per day, and if I somehow manage to do so in a day, I’ll probably won’t write for the rest of the week–unless it was the muse being generous.
I’ve rambled quite a bit here, but I feel like that’s within the scope of what I want these posts to be about. Thank you for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this, feel free to comment, let me know on my website or on my social media.
Thanks for your time!
- Joe Rogan – How To Workout Smarter (JRE Clips) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fbCcWyYthQ&t=960s&ab_channel=JREClips
- High Hopes – Pink Floyd https://www.last.fm/music/Pink+Floyd/_/High+Hopes