Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Thursday, 13 September 2012

Procrastination

Oh dear, I'm late for a very important date...

Although it's my turn to blog this week, I've had a busy time, what with a dear friend's significant birthday, the decorator being here, Andy Murray winning his amazing US Open final (and yes, I did stay up to watch it)... So I'm late. And I'm sorry. And I can't make up my mind if it's because I genuinely forgot, or because I've been procrastinating. For very good reasons, of course...

Procrastination is the enemy of writers. We all do it – well, everyone I know does it. anyway. Apparently, we all procrastinate sometimes, but 20 per cent of us can be described as chronic procrastinators, putting off difficult tasks by deliberately seeking out distractions. It's either because we 'perform better under pressure' or because we simply lack control.

Today I have:

*   taken a friend to my aqua fit class and had coffee afterwards
*   had another coffee over the papers at home, to keep my husband company
*   helped the decorator get some of our bigger pictures up
*   had a light lunch with a friend who arrived
*   emailed friends about arrangements for an October away weekend
*   realised I was overdue on my blog and finally sat down to it.

What I really should be doing, of course, is WRITING!!

Since starting this blog, I have looked up some quotations about procrastinating. They're so dispiriting!

'You may delay, but time will not.' (Benjamin Franklin)
'The time to begin most things is ten years ago.' (Mignon McLaughlin)
'Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.' (unknown)

See what I mean? And the ones meant to goad you into action are even worse:

'Don't wait. The time will never be just right.' (Napoleon Hill)
'Begin while others are procrastinating. Work while others are wishing.  (William Arthur Ward).
'Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.' (Dale Carnegie)

Okay, so I'll just write my novel first, will I? No clean clothes or meals for a year...

Stop it woman. You're procrastinating again.

Anyone out there who doesn't suffer, even a teensy weensy little bit? Dare you confess?

16 comments:

  1. Ah,Jenny,if we didn't engage with such activities there might be nothing to write about!

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  2. Oooooh - I'm most scared of this one "'Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.' (unknown)"

    Your post is so uncannily timely that I'm sure, as well as doing all that other stuff you did today, Jenny, you were spying on me because I've had the most procrastinating of days!

    Rather than write I've done housework (yes, really) and made soup and looked up endless nice things on line - and found your blog post.

    I blame you.

    love, Janice xx

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    1. I shoulder all responsibility, Janice. As if it made any difference - your chapter still isn't written!

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    2. Haha - and you are right, of course!

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  3. Of course you know I've been procrastinating Jenny, otherwise I wouldn't have known you were. I wouldn't have had time to look here, would I.
    I think Churchill borrowed that quotation from Carnegie. I have often quoted it to my various offspring and to myself.

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    1. Neat little vicious circle, isn't it? Ha!

      I'm being won round to Myra's comment (at the top) - if we didn't procrastinate, we'd have no life experiences to write about.

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  4. Oh Jenny, that's brilliant. And so so true. The best bit is that we all have reasons for procrastinating and yet we still know we're procrastinating... But that's better than some teenagers I know (mine) who dont' even know they're procrastinating!

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  5. That's getting too deep for me, Gill. But I'm sure that character would be great in a novel - if he/she could ever be made to do anything at all! What could be the consequences of procrastination that make everything fall apart. Hmmm. Thinks...

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  6. At least you've written about procrastination, Jenny. Which is one degree better than not writing at all. You've also summoned up lots of kindred spirits. There will be more, but maybe they're busy writing...

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    1. Yes, you're right Joan.It's the opposite of a self-fufilling prophesy!

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  7. And I thought I was queen of procrastination! My good intentions are all in my head but don't seem to translate into actually sitting down and writing when I'm at home. I do slightly better on a train (a few times last week) and the while having the weekly coffee at Costa!

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    1. I like trains too, Rosemary. It's because there's no escape. I think!

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  8. You've certainly hit the spot with this blog, Jenny. Lots of us clearly recognise the symptoms of procrastination. I took notebooks and laptop on holiday intending to spend a couple of hours each evening writing. I managed 200 words the first time I sat down to write, but that was it - there were far too many other things demanding my attention. Perhaps while we are putting off actually writing, some mysterious alchemy is going on in our heads - plotlines being sorted, characters developed - so we when we do actually get down to it we have something to put on paper. I'm sticking to this attractive theory.

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  9. I wish I could claim this too, Mary, but I actually only work when I'm sitting down with my laptop or at least a pen and paper. Sigh.

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  10. Ashamed to admit I'm a procrastinator par excellence. The trouble is, there are other things which need to be done, other demands on your time, so it's easy to convince yourself you're not procrastinating. You really haven't had the time to do some creative writing (as opposed to writing blogs and emails or replying to same.)

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