When Procrastination Strikes

tall weeds

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve finally finished the final hours required to achieve a Ph.D. in procrastination.

It’s a common achievement of writers, you can see the tell-tale signs of a writer in pursuit of procrastination by the number of times they call you “out of the blue” when a deadline is impending.  Other signs a writer is avoiding work include a sudden upsurge in completed household chores, including mowed lawns and trimmed hedges. Right now, I’m thinking longingly of the mountain of unwashed dishes and the pile of laundry in need of washing.  It’s tempting to stop writing this and go work on them.

I’ve also found useful distractions in the form of the Internet and television, as well as sudden interests in checking the fridge for something that I know isn’t there.

I realize it is strange that one would actually complete such a degree. After all, someone who fully embraces the tricks of the procrastination would probably never complete anything.

I figure that anyone that learns the intricacies of avoidance and learns the discipline to overcome them, deserves the advanced degree.  Because, it is in conquering the combined power of distractions large and small that we get to call ourselves writers.

I’m also fairly certain that all of this is a lie. I’m merely fooling myself into thinking I’ve achieved mastery over the forces trying to keep me from sitting my posterior in a chair and making words appear on a virtual sheet of paper.  I think the entire Procrasti Nation invented this Ph.D nonsense to make me think I’d done something worth celebrating.

They never give up. And they seem to get much stronger when I’ve made some progress against them. I start writing early every morning, and then a few days later, they convince me that an extra hour of sleep is a much better plan. They tell me that I’ve earned a break. They lie. And, it’s so much more pleasant to believe the lie and to get a bit of rest.

That is, until it’s the day of a deadline and all you can think to write about how much you’d rather be doing anything but writing something interesting to meet your deadline. Then they tell you how you’ve got “plenty of time,” so you might as well take a nap, and, hey, look, your favorite show is on, and you’ve not seen it in ages, and look, the weather is beautiful, and there’s a puppy and an ice cream man, and a guy with a jet pack comes and offers you a ride, and so on and further.

These distraction elementals like to also tell you that you’ve got writer’s block and that the story you’ve spent all week working on is complete crap. Then, they tell you to throw it out and start all over again, and the only idea they leave you with is to write about them.  Better than nothing, I say.

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