Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Sunday, 24 February 2013

PROCRASTINATE? MOI? by Linda Mitchelmore

So, procrastination - the art of putting off what we know ought to be done; what must be done if our minds are to have any peace. Whenever I find myself reaching for the weighing scales, and the fat and the flour, and the sugar and the eggs, I know I have a mild case of procrastination. I have a deadline, but it's some little way in the distance - there's time to bake. And once I've made those biscuits, that Victoria sponge - or even a chocolate cocoa cola cake - then I'll get right back down to work, won't I? Easy peasy. I'll be back in the writing groove before I know it. When I reach for the Cif, and a cloth and an old toothbrush, and start attacking the skirting-boards and those grubby bits in the hinges of doors, then I know my 'cure' is going to take a little bit longer. But that deadline is looming - I can't forget it even though I will feel righteous for having done battle with the old toothbrush etc. But it's when I start taking down the curtains to wash them, and get the VAX machine out from under the stairs to clean the carpets that I know I'm a suitable case for treatment. Getting my writing mojo back is going to be harder the longer I'm away from the keyboard. I know that. But I still do this stuff. But why, I wonder, do I feel guilty not writing? - even when I'm getting on with things that give me instant gratification (the chocolate cocoa cola cake) or things I know need doing (the rest of the above). After all, I tell myself, writing is self-inflicted. No one is holding a gun to my head to do it. I'm not going to starve in my garret or become homeless if I don't write. (I might have to forego the Prosecco, but that's another story.) I know all this procrastination is because I'm having a little writing wobble; a mini crisis of confidence in varying degrees when reaching for those weighing scales/the Cif/the VAX machine. And it will pass. It always does. It seems to me that procrastination is, perhaps, part of the writing pattern. We have to be away from it before we realise how much we love doing it. What then, I wonder, are your procrastination tactics? Or - as my daughter calls it - avoidance procedures. I'd love to know I'm not alone in this - I'm sure I can't be - when the chips are down. I might even add something from your list, to mine. But for the moment you'll have to excuse. I've got to go. There's that thing called a deadline hovering on the periphery of my life, but first I have a chocolate cocoa cola cake to make.....

23 comments:

  1. I can SO relate to this, Linda! Mine are being here on Facebook and Twitter! AS well as reading posts etc I play word games and guess the music stuff on Facebook, when I know I should be writing. Talking of which...

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    1. Ah well, Mandy, I purposely left of FB and Twitter because don't we all say, 'Oh, I'll just do a few FB and Twitter posts before I start work'...?

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  2. No idea why I had a capital 'AS' in the last post...(procrastinates to tell you this) :)

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  3. Oh, goodness, Linda, you are certainly not alone. I call it displacement activity and it also involves occasional manic bursts of cleaning places which don't usually see a cleaning implement. Mostly, though it is an addiction to spider solitaire. I'll decide to play a couple of games before settling to writing then before I know it half the morning has gone and I'm telling myself sternly I can have one last game...
    The chocolate cocoa cola cake sounds scrumptious - and looks it if that's its pic above. Can we have the recipe, please? It might help break my solitaire addiciton.

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    1. The recipe is in CHOC LIT LOVE MATCH anthology with my short story.....:) Available on Amazon as an e.book. This is one I made earlier for my grandchildren, and sort of Easter-fied it...:) It is well worth making!

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  4. Linda, how I empathise. Though I KNOW the only way is to sit down and gt on with it somehow there's always something more immediate to do...like read the newspapers or phone a friend or just wander down to post a letter....

    Funny, though - if I have a dedline, I always manage to meet it (or I have done so far).

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    1. Yes, I use the BOSS (Bum On Swivel Seat) tactic for deadlines....which I always meet, too....well, so far I have!

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  5. I'm another one who procrastinates by reading (it's research, isn't it?). I have never needed to procrastinate so severely that I have actually been driven to cleaning though.

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  6. So true, Linda! And I'm glad it's not just me - I end to think everyone's industriously producing reams while I'm noodling about!

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    1. Noodling? Lovely word 'noodling' as Miranda Hart would say.....might pinch that one for my next bit of procrastination...:)

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  7. I'm a world-class procrastinator, Linda! I do find that having several writing projects on the go at once makes me get on with at least one of them, but nothing works as well as a deadline.

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    1. Deadline - subtext being 'gun to head' or no pay...:)

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  8. I wouldn't call making a chocolate cocoa cola cake procrastination. It's vital! There's nothing better. Eat the chocolate first, then hit the keyboard with renewed vigor! Seriously, I love writing so much that nothing really keeps me from doing it. It's the marketing that sends me out to walk the dog along the beach or chop kindling!

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    1. Thanks for popping by, Stephanie......not chopped kindling in years so that word brought back happy memories...:)

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  9. So lovely to hear it's not just me. Like Jane it's reading and more reading for me - but yes with some baking thrown in. Although, saying that, I did go through all the wardrobes and chests of drawers sorting out clothes in first our room, then each of the boys' rooms, then spent the following week choosing a paint colour for a room and then started sorting out the cupboards in the downstairs rooms and then went back upstairs to clear out under the beds :)

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    1. And your sequel will be all the better for it, honeybun.....:)

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  10. Procrastination? Tell me about it! Someone once told me that Carole Matthews ties herself to the desk leg until she's done her words for the day. Carole? You out there? Is it true?

    Now, I've lit a fire today (we had a lot of snow this morning, and visitors for lunch). Scotland has just won the rugby (yay!) and I have no more excuses, so I'm going to take my laptop and adjourn to the fire.

    Once I've done my emails.

    And responded to this post.

    And ...

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    1. And I saw you pop up on FB just now, Ms Harper.....:) I thought it was Jane Wenham-Jones who tied her leg to the leg of her chair.....where are you Jane and Carole - slug it out for us, please.

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  11. Just added Choc Lit Love Match to my Kindle - that should stop me sitting at my desk for a wee while longer!

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  12. Ooooh, thanks for that, Mary....:) And that cake is truly scrumptious....:)

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  13. Love it Linda and I can sooo empathise. My avoidance techniques involve checking e-mails and FB and blogs which is - oops - what I've been doing so far this morning. And then having registered of OU Latin I have to do a bit of that. Then phone my dad. Then text both boys to see that they're still breathing... And so it goes on. Yet I do love writing. Really!

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  14. Beginning to think FB and Twitter and e.mails are the biggest procrastination tool of all....I should be writing, but thought....well, might look and see who's looked at the Novpov blog.....:)

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