i’m not procrastinating, i’m sick

That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

But seriously, I am sick. And I’m also a procrastinator. When the two come together, it pretty much means I stop doing anything except eat, breathe, and sleep. All essential, sure, but soul-crushing for creativity. Of course, add depression to the mix, and I guess the deck is fully stacked against me. Sometimes I take that as an excuse to temporarily give up. I think we’ve all been there. We run dry on inspiration. Real life kicks us in the crotch. Financial worries flare into financial crises. Or we get sick, like me. (It started as a cold but has transmorphed into a sinus infection.)

Or regular, everyday concerns intrude. We need to spend time with the family, the spouse, the kids, friends, raid team (shout out to WoW!) etc. We have to work. We need to run errands, shop for groceries, pay bills, go for a jog. Again, these are all real, important things. I don’t mean to demean any of them. I do all of them myself–except spend time with family or friends. (Yeah, I’m kind of a hermit.) I’ve been given these reasons by other talented writers before right before they tell me they don’t really have time to work on their book/script/whatever. Sadly, I missed out on working with a brilliant writing partner because she just didn’t have the time she thought she had. I’m not judging, and I’m definitely not saying it was the wrong decision for her to put writing on the backburner for the foreseeable future.

But I think there is always going to be something that threatens to get in the way of taking the time to sit down and write. That’s life. Isn’t it? My personal favorite–the reason I most often use–is that I need to clear out the clutter on my DVR. Which is… pretty full of this and that. I won’t provide a list of what… maybe for another blog. And it’s true, watching TV and movies can fill the brain with ideas, with motivation, definitely a lot of interesting imagery. Great tools for creativity, especially when you’re running on empty. Oh yeah, and I’ve recently gotten hooked on Assassin’s Creed. (It’s a video game.) I like the story, the artwork, the characters (sort of). I’m definitely making it harder for myself, and now my desktop is headed into the shop for about a month to get fixed. I have some serious adjusting to do to keep active writing.

My point is, if you’re a serious writer, I mean a SERIOUS NEED-TO-BE-PUBLISHED writer, then you will absolutely make writing a part of your schedule, as fixed and unbreakable as dinner or taking a shower. Sometimes it takes a while to write something–as I’m discovering in this blog post–so sometimes you may need to allocate more time or longer sessions, whichever way works best. Sometimes you might reach your writing goals faster than expected. As I’ve been told by other writers (who’ve made it their full time job) that when you reach your goal, call it a day instead of going on.

My goal is, and has been for a while, to finish my book. I “finished” it last year, but in the process of editing I discovered it needed some serious work here and there. So that remains my primary goal. But I have a writing partner currently in New York who’s also counting on me to carry my weight in the TV pilot we’re developing. Then there are a couple of other script projects that are very important to me: a web series and a full rewrite of A Shallow Grave. But the book comes first, because I need to send out more query letters as soon as I finish my major edits. I don’t have specific daily goals, but I have a pretty good idea of when I’ve done enough for the day, and I’ve reached a level of honesty with myself that I can admit if I’ve fallen short. The thing is, editing is hard work and so unlike writing. I’m still figuring out how it goes.

Speaking of, I have some more editing to get done before I call it a night.

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One thought on “i’m not procrastinating, i’m sick

  1. As Steven Pressfield rightly states in his book, “The War Of Art”, the hard part about writing, as with any creative endeavour, is not the writing, it is the sitting down to write. Once you are seated, writing comes easily. If you know and accept this, then force yourself to sit down to write (eg. tell yourself that you only need to write 250 words today, but that you HAVE to write at least 250 words today), you can make it a habit.
    You can also find other useful tips for overcoming procrastination and moving the blocks to success on my blog: http://kanukasimpson.wordpress.com/

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