Procrastination & Deadlines
“As a writer, I need an enormous amount of time alone. Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of everything you can to avoid writing, until it’s about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write. Having anybody watching that or attempting to share it with me would be grisly.”
–Paul Rudnik, American playwright, novelist, screenwriter, and essayist
I began writing this post days ago.
And then I realized that I needed to take advantage of a free day and finish painting our master bathroom. When I stepped back to admire the freshly painted walls, I couldn’t avoid the now eye-sore of a shower. Those 80’s style frosted glass sliding doors had to go. So I ripped them off and headed out to the massive Bed, Bath & Beyond to pick out a new shower curtain, rod and rings. Once the bathroom was back in working order, it was time for a quick shower and bed.
The next day I had to run my son to a tutoring session, and since we were already out I decided we had to get a jump start on back to school shopping since we only have T minus 29 days ‘til the first day of school. Marble composition books, three-ring binders, and 24-count crayon boxes led to multi-colored underwear, bright neon color athletic socks, and shiny new sneakers.
Before I knew it, the weekend was here and gone and it was Monday morning again…and then Tuesday, Wednesday…
I sat down to finish this post hours ago.
But then there was a load of laundry I had to get into the wash or else the red juice and purple grape jelly on the kids’ clothes were going to be irreversible stains. And then the kids wanted lunch. And you know you gotta feed the youngsters, because if not they just keep asking and asking and asking…I guess food is vital for their sustainability. And then the phone rang and I answered before checking the caller ID. It was Sears asking if I could answer a survey about our experience buying our new washer and dryer a few weeks ago. Which reminded me of the clothes in the wash and that I needed to get them into the dryer. You know how quickly wet clothes sour when left in the washer for too long! Then my stomach growled to remind me that I hadn’t eaten all day. That lone cup of coffee at the break of dawn wasn’t going to see me through to dinner, so I gave in to the hunger and began eating the kids’ leftover chicken nuggets and half eaten cantaloupe slices. And then, THEN, it was finally time to sit down at the desk and actually write. But first, a quick check of my Facebook newsfeed, my email inbox, and Perez Hilton’s latest celebrity gossip.
Before I knew it, it was edging upon evening. I had no other choice but to WRITE. Vacation is around the corner and I have packing left to tackle. I had reached the “now or never” point for this post.
Deadlines are the only thing that have ever pushed me to those “now or never” moments. Most of the time, my procrastination is more about my fear of whether or not what I will write will be good enough than me not wanting to write. But when I have to write because there is no other choice but to get the assignment done, the words pour out of me. I no longer have the time to worry over every word, each detail. When time is no longer on my side, I don’t have the luxury of endlessly contemplating how to write it and who will read it when it’s published. And then, only then, do I finally accomplish what I am meant to do.
Are you doing what you are meant to do? Or are you allowing too many other things to distract you from your goals? Set a deadline for yourself. Pick a date and stick to it. Circle that date in bold red marker on your calendar and schedule a reminder on your phone. Then sit back and procrastinate. And when it is “now or never” time, put away the self doubt and get to it!