Procrastination Station

 

 

 

 

It’s 6:15 p.m. and the Laura train has been dead-ended at Procrastination Station since 1:45 p.m. That’s when I looked at the car clock and thought: “Okay. I’ll get home by two, put purchases away, and get to work.” But after that point, everything gets kind of fuzzy. There may have been clowns involved. Or giant crawdads like the one that crawled up on our porch between storms Tuesday night. I wish there had been booze involved. I’ve always found the concept of being blackout drunk fascinating, but not desirable. Today, though…

What did I do in those four point five hours? Well, I did arrive home and then ran the dogs around. The detritus in the car took two trips to get inside, and then I had to put it all away. Laundry. A really big load of laundry. I read a few blogs. RT’d a tweet or two. Looked at Facebook. Fussed at my son, who was also procrastinating. Had an important phone call with a friend. Folded laundry (I was down to my saddest pjs, so clean ones are a plus.) Wrote some emails, watched a couple news stories about people in the area who lost their homes to Tuesday night tornadoes. Tidied up the living room. Opened and sorted some mail. Retitled the novel. (I shared the new title with my agent, but I’m not ready to announce it. That will happen soon, though.) Read a list of books that a Very Famous Author recommended and felt a little jealous that none of mine were on it. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I’m boring myself here, so I can’t imagine what you’re thinking.

The point is, I am avoiding editing this novel. I’m still hesitating. It’s not that I don’t know what to write, it’s that I do: When I finish, people will be reading it.  And I want it to be perfect. It’s as simple as that. *laughs maniacally* 

Perfectionism is the direct line to procrastination. If you’re absolutely committed to something being perfect, then you’re going to drive yourself–and the people around you–crazy. Is there a cure for perfectionism? Funny you should ask. I think the cure is probably failure. Which we’ve all experienced. Except the perfectionist says to herself, “But next time I’ll get it exactly right. I know all the things that need to be done.” And the lesson is wasted.

(Insert long tangent here. Just spent 20 minutes on Urban Dictionary reading about the difference between Murphy’s Law and Finagle’s Law. Then I got caught up in reading the sidebar of all things Murphy and murray. Now I’m kind of grossed out.)

When we focus too hard on shaping things, we do end up shaping them. But the downside is that there is very little chance that the shape will resemble the thing we imagined. There are too many variables at play in the world. We have too many variables in our own thoughts and behavior to get consistent results. Our tiny brains know this somewhere deep inside, which is why we procrastinate. We are engaged in an impossible task. Who in the hell wants to engage in something they know is literally impossible?

Today’s problem comes from my not following my own advice to do the hard thing first. The hard thing would’ve been to come in the door, not worry about putting the detritus away, and grab a cup of tea and open that file. By now I would be eating dinner, or writing a blog on my favorite rain boots or crawdads, or some other random thing because I’ve been in a random kind of mood lately. Getting the work done is the key. Executing, not worrying and second- or third-guessing.

Maybe you’re not a procrastinator or a perfectionist. If not, go you!

I’m going to grab some food because I need sustenance for doing the hard thing. Then I’ll do some chapters. At least this imperfect post is done, right?

 

March 1 words

Journal:   0 words

Long fiction: (Edited 2 chapters)

Short fiction: 0

Non-fiction: 0 words

Blogging:  679 words

Exercise: Twenty minutes treadmill

7 thoughts on “Procrastination Station”

  1. JP says:

    This is one of the best. Dad.

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      Hey, Dad. Thanks–that means a lot!

  2. skyecaitlin says:

    It’s a perfect post, Laura, and I don’t believe you procrastinate at all ( or at least in my little world of overthinking. Are you a perfectionist? Yes, I think you are, but you are also looking at a piece of creativity—yours, and I would want mine to be perfect ( ahhh, my Lenten sacrifice). But let’s take a look at this for a second, because it’s so easy to label ourselves, and in doing so, we become our thoughts. Had I rushed in to ‘edit’ my work, I would have wound up dwelling on the laundry, the pajamas, my son, the e-mails I needed to write, and then my creativity would have gone down the drain. I believe you cleared the decks quite well. This is where, in a sense, we need to set up priorities and follow through as best as we can. I think you did quite well.

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      You are very compassionate, Skye. I felt guilty even as I did those things–but you’re right. When I work they’re always in the back of my mind. And it *was* very nice to have clean jammies. Priorities.

  3. JT Ellison says:

    You also have to remember your brain is sort of mushy right now. You’ve just poured all your creative energy into finishing the draft. You’ve needed to give it some rest and reward, as much as you’ve needed to step away from the story. Things will go much smoother because you did some procrastination.

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      Fingers crossed. It’s going a little better. 😊

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