Tuesday, 25 June 2013

My cleaner named Procrastination

I've never really believed in procrastinating. I'd much rather get stuck into something then sit around and talk about it for hours or days. At school and university I could never understand why people would waste the day away and then scramble at the last minute to finish off their project or homework. I couldn't handle that sort of stress. I preferred to finish my work as quickly as possible and then spend the evening however I wanted. My family likes to remind me that I never worked passed 6:30pm in high school, just so I could spend the evening watching TV. I managed to retain this non-procrastination streak well into my university studies.

Writing a novel, however, has brought out the inner procrastinator in me. I find myself doing small tasks, any tasks, to avoid writing when I'm not inspired. I'll clean the floor, dust every bit of furniture I own, do my washing—even hand washing!—any menial task that will keep me away from my desk and the daunting vision of a blank page. The strange thing about procrastination is that during these tasks I will become inspired to write. Characters will start talking to themselves in my head (weird, I know) and situations and scenarios will arise. It's almost as if my story pushes its way into my subconscious when I'm not trying so hard to write. It also helps that I have an extremely guilty conscience. I would be the world's worst criminal, turning myself in five minutes after committing a crime. Any time I could be writing, my subconscious will plague my thoughts with guilt. There's no escaping it. So I'll put the vacuum cleaner away, drop the duster and sit down to that blank page that seemed so daunting an hour ago. Once I start typing it's like my procrastination never existed.

Days go by and then I start to realise the house needs a vacuum, a dust and my washing is piling up, but I'll keep writing to avoid these tasks. Writing becomes my procrastination for housework. Then, just like that, I'll lose inspiration and the blank page will begin to mock me. I'll flee to the sanctuary of cleaning products and hope my characters will start talking to me again. Thus the procrastination cycle continues.

Anyone else have a great anti-procrastination technique to share? 

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