Procrastination? Oh, Look! A Kitten!

Welcome to Friday the 13th, darlings! Outside the castle, it’s a chilly and clear morning – the sun has just started to lighten the sky behind Mt. Hood, turning the underside of the few fluffy clouds a glorious Pepto pink. Kevin the kitten is chasing Nerf darts up and down the royal hallway, Casey dog is sleeping on our royal feet, and Wilbur-cat is hiding from everyone. And what am I doing,  besides writing a fabulous new post?

Uhhhh, let’s see…I should start on the laundry soon because we are dangerously close to having no proper garments for our royal undercarriage. And I always have vacuuming, cleaning, bill-paying, and general dogs-bodying to occupy my time. Ooh, and there’s a full pot of tea. And I haven’t had breakfast yet. And I should start drinking my water so I can begin WritersButt stuff, too. And…and…what’s that you ask? What am I working on?

All right. Time to ‘fess up. I made a definite, clear, and simple plan for my writing this year. Yep. Clear. Crystal clear. My lovely critique partners helped me prioritize my projects and decide on some attainable,  measurable goals.

It’s the 13th of January. Have I started? Have I made the leap back into my projects? How’s that revision, you ask?

Have I shown you how adorable the kitten is? He’s now draped himself across his kitten tower, looking up at me with adorableness oozing from every whisker.

Oh, dear. Ohdearohdearohdear.

How hard can it be to revise a book series I know from the inside out? I invented that world and wrote the damn things, after all. It’s not like I’m coming at this absolutely cold. So what’s stopping me? The answer is not, shocking as it seems, a finger-numbing disease that makes typing impossible. And it’s not tiny gnomes and pixies luring me away from the computer with Rocky Road ice cream and/or toast.

It’s nuthin’ but  fear. Plain and simple. For me, I’m most afraid I won’t be able to tell this story the way it should be told – that I’ll forget a key piece or muck it up so badly no one will ever read it. And when it comes down to the wire, it’s easier to do nothing and think we might have some skills than DO IT and prove to everyone we actually suck as badly as we think we do. Why are writers gripped in this fear? Why is every stinking one of us insecure, no matter how many contracts we have or books we’ve sold? What can we do to get over our bad selves?

There are classes to help, therapy to help, books to help, friends to help. I’ve used all of those but therapy (though Bob knows I could use it) and they do offer help, if for no other reason than they make you figure out what you truly want. When someone asks you the question “if you’re as crappy as you say, why are you still doing it?”, you have a tendency to pay attention. And you ask yourself the same thing, every day and every second.

For me, the words I use with my sprogs resonate in my ears the most. “If you don’t try, you’ll never know. Not really. And do you want a lifetime of ‘what-if’s’ ahead of you?”. It’s changing my mind-set to accept that not everything I do will be perfect the first time. Things will suck now and then, and it’s okay if people point that out to me. It’s like putting on Kevlar underwear before diving into an alligator tank. Some of the ‘gators might gnaw on me a bit and, yeah, it’ll be painful, but the center of me will be fine. I will be fine. I might lose a finger or two, but I’ll come through it with enough of me to survive.

Now it’s your turn…tell me what motivates you to get going and just DO whatever you’ve been putting off. I have some things I need to accomplish today that don’t involve kittens.

**drawings courtesy of Hyperbole and a Half I hope she doesn’t sue me. Please go to her site ’cause she’s awesomer than a really awesome thing.

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8 Responses

  1. Fantabulous blog post. It resonates strongly with me. The only thing that will work almost 100% of the time with me is keeping my daily NOTEBOOK. (yes all caps courtesy of the awesome Margie Lawson http://www.margielawson.com/ and her Defeating Self Defeating Behaviors workshop that she does at the beginning of each year.)

    When I’m being disciplined, I write a list of ‘writing’ things I HAVE to do that day and a list of ‘life’ things. And being competitive with myself, I do everything I can to cross off the items so I can feel like a superstar at the end of the day. Key is to have the items be absolutely doable.

    The other invaluable thing I have is my marvelous critique partners who support and push and cheer and kick my butt. ((Love YOU!))

    • G –

      Yes, lists. Great idea. Here’s today’s list:

      *Transfer all documents to new computer.
      *Try not to cry when it doesn’t work the first time.
      *Hope that manuscripts will work in Office 2010.
      *Open first book in series and re-read, yet again.
      *Start revising and polishing. Work on first three scenes.

      Doable? Yes. I think I can check off the first two. Fingers crossed for the next three, and then I will be a SUPERSTAR!

      (Oh, and people…go to Margie’s site and take ANY of her classes. I highly recommend them!)

      Consider butt kicked, Ginger. What’s on your list today?

      Hugs –

      Julie

  2. Ok, I’ll try to channel Margie and ask you if you think that list is absolutely doable in 1 day–this day? If so, go for it. If not, put the items on the list that you KNOW you can absolutely do given your time today. Make the rest SS-Goals (yep, superstar goals).

    Here’s what I’ve got:

    Writing:

    Post Friday’s Blog (done)
    Social networking — read, comment, RT, share, support (done)

    SS= short and long range goals for 2012 (not done-will have to get moved to main goal list soon to be done by Tuesday)

    Life:

    Decorations (Christmas): take down and put away (almost done–need to bring to garage)
    Christmas cards: not done. Hope to work on later tonight
    Delaney’s laundry (in process)

    SS=vacuum/dust, etc. (will likely get to this over weekend)

    xoxoxo 🙂

    • Yes, ma’am. I’m gonna do it ALL today. It’s my day all alone at home! Woo Hoo!

      And let’s do some free writing this weekend, ‘kay? I think we could use a little fun. 🙂

      • Sounds like a FAB idea. Almost all of my ‘recovery’ from Christmas is done and I’ll be bursting to live in a creative world. Bring on the ninjas! 🙂

  3. Ah, Jules. I know that Writer’s Lament well. I can name it in three notes. And it always comes back to fear, doesn’t it? Good thing reaching for your dreams is more important than giving in to fear, eh?
    I wish I had a 100% reliable “this is what works for me” when I can’t get the motivation strong enough to overcome the self-doubt and despair and other ills of the writerly ilk. It changes. Sometimes music, sometimes a change of scenery, sometimes a good book, sometimes a bad book, sometimes a cookie 🙂 Earlier this week I just didn’t. want. to. write. There’s just no point in it, really, is there? But I had to put the dogs out, and while waiting on them, flipped through the mail littering my table. And there was full-color picture of some hockey hero or other in action (and you know how I love hockey) and above him, in great bold block letters it said: COMMITMENT. So yup. I let the dogs in and pulled out my notebook and pen and spent some time in story world, until I absolutely could not keep my eyes open any longer.
    I guess it all comes down to how bad you want it. You want it bad enough, you’ll do what needs to be done. And latch on to any bit of inspiration – or cookie – that helps along the way.

    • Jen, you’re awesome. And you’re a great writer. And a terrific cookie promoter. *hee hee*(Donttellginger.) This is just another instance in which hockey saves the world! 🙂 You should totes write a book with that title, btw.

      Hugs and cookies to you!

    • Love Jen’s reply … my favorite part and the part I tell my gym-peeps all the time is:

      I guess it all comes down to how bad you want it. You want it bad enough, you’ll do what needs to be done.

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