By Sammy Bina
I’ve been trying to think of something to write for today for a while. I made a list of potential topics I could discuss, but none of them seemed quite right. I considered writing you guys a book recommendation, or talking to you about all the exciting novels coming out this summer. I thought about comparing books vs. their television counterparts, but I decided to save that for a day when I’m more coherent.
So what did I decide to write about?
Procrastination. (Even as I write this, I’m putting off a paper that’s due tomorrow. I know. It’s sad.)
I’d like to take this moment to go on record as saying I’m a huge fan of Glee. Yep, that’s right. I’m a Gleek. But I’m sure I’m not the only one, so how many of you watched last night’s episode, Born This Way? For those of you who didn’t, the premise was to come to accept something about yourself you cannot change. Then the kids wore t-shirts with those things written across the chest. I rather liked the idea, and decided this would be mine:
(Yes, my photoshop skills are boss.)
The last few weeks have been insanely busy for me, due to the fact that I’m graduating soon. In the midst of all the school chaos, I had to worry about applying to grad school, jobs, and finding somewhere to live. I got so wrapped up in worrying about things that were going to happen that I forgot about the things I currently had to deal with. Like papers and that one thing we all have in common: writing.
It’s funny. It seems that whenever I have time to write, I put it off and work on other things, and when I have absolutely no free time, I find myself glued to Word. It’s a horrible, vicious cycle of me procrastinating. I never seem to want to do the things I have time for until the time to do them no longer exists. It makes for a really awkward, unreliable writing schedule, and it’s proven to be quite the inhibition.
I love writing. This should go without saying. But as many of us here at LTWF have expressed, we have our doubts. And when I doubt myself, I procrastinate. If that scene isn’t turning out right, I put it aside and say I’ll come back to it later. Only later stretches further and further until I’ve psyched myself out so much, I don’t want to even look at it anymore. Even if it isn’t that bad.
Sometimes I have a hard time nailing a character down. I can see them in my head just fine, but they don’t come out on the page that way. So I rewrite everything. And then I do it again, because I’m still not happy. Then I get frustrated and walk away, come back, and tell myself I’ll just keep writing and fix it all later. Which proves to be a problem because then I end up with an entire story written with one majorly flawed character. And not in a good way. By procrastinating, I’ve given myself even more work to do.
I’ve been waiting for some free time (or lack there of) to come up so I could get back into my current WIP. The problem is, I’ve been away from it for over a month, and now I’m almost too scared to go back and look at it. What if it’s not as good as I remember? What if those scenes I left hanging are even more of an enigma? What if that one character I couldn’t get quite right remains a total mystery? By putting things off, I’ve psyched myself out. I’m left feeling rattled, and I haven’t even seen the manuscript in weeks.
The point I’m trying to make, dear readers, is that procrastination is not your friend. This may seem obvious, but somehow I still get wrapped up in it from time to time. I let doubt push me toward other, less productive things, like baking or marathoning 90s British TV. And while baking and television are all well and good, they aren’t the thing I love the most. I’m not trying to make a career out of cookies or laziness. So this week I decided to put a note beside my bed that simply says ‘WRITE! (Even if it scares you.)’ Because putting it off hasn’t done me a lick of good. I’ve been stressing myself out needlessly over a story that I love. That I hope, one day, other people will read and love. So I’m going to dive back in. I’m accepting the fact that I was born this way, that I can be a major procrastinator when I want to be, and am trying to overcome that and all the doubt it instills.
And on that note, I’d like to leave you with some parting words of wisdom:
Procrastination: don’t do it.
Sammy Bina is finishing up her last semester of college as a creative writing major. She’s currently revising her YA dystopian, SILENCE, and is an intern for the Elaine P. English Literary Agency. You can follow her blog, tumblr, or find her on twitter.