I could write a dissertation on procrastination. Scrolling through Instagram or Facebook I come across experts proclaiming what time-wasting is and isn’t and wonder how people can talk such tripe. And then I begin my counterargument and realise it’s just as much ‘Utter Rot’ as my ballet teacher would plummily pronounce.
Whatever the cause, I indulge in procrastination at a level that could win awards and the only person who can change this dastardly habit is me. I argue within my soul, berate myself, wail at the heavens, and eventually, I put pen to paper. My laptop is littered with one or two lines of half-formed thoughts that should have been short stories, blogs, or something!
If what I am going to say helps anyone in a similar fix I will be thrilled. So here is some of what I do to get out of the trough of endless whiling away precious moments of this business called life.
The first thing I do is make the decision to stop wasting time, to set boundaries for myself. Not always easy. Amazing how the moment one makes this decision invites to glorious escapist teas and lunches and exhibitions arrive in magnetic profusion.
After making this momentous decision, step two is to find a course, usually online, freebie naturally given our atrocious exchange rate, and join it. Either art or writing. Having to show up for a number of consecutive days and make marks on paper breaks the spell of inertia. Incredibly as I do this, I remember how to write, how to form words, how to allow my creative self to take control and let go of anxious thoughts and concerns about things I can do nothing about.
Next, I identify a project. It may be to get back to the book I am writing, or edit a manuscript (horrors), write something for my webpage (sigh) or sketch whatever my eye falls on. Drawing is a great way of forcing the left brain to take a back seat while you focus on the moment and what is in front of you.
My immediate project is a book for my grandson. I have jotted down ideas, chosen photographs, written the first few lines. And then I begin to avoid the whole issue, find inane things to do, like make a cup of tea. The usual diversionary gang gets into gear. A crisis I need to be a part of. Hours spent looking for some dumb paper from years ago because someone with nothing better to do wants to make a fuss, have their need for significance satisfied.
I had to remonstrate sharply with myself this morning – at least decide which paper you are going to use, I told myself crossly.
I grabbed the pile of art paper from the shelf in my cupboard and began seeing how many sheets I had of each size. I came across old drawings, thumbprints of paintings I had sketched, old scribblings, and ideas. It was great! I’m not that bad. Like catching up with old friends – I can draw. Wow, even the paint jobs aren’t too dreadful! Oh, I remember that – why didn’t I finish it? Hmm.
I remember now – this is how I passed this glitch before: reading old writings, looking at long-forgotten bits and pieces of art which all remind me that I am not as useless and lacking in talent and creativity as whatever would have me believe.
Before I knew it, a poem was written and this little piece for my blog. And that’s not all. I have chosen the paper for the book, I have an outline and I am on my way.
So, to those who suffer the same malady, try going back, refresh your ego, allow yourself a pat on the back for previous efforts, tell yourself you aren’t half bad, and this is fun. This is what you were born to do, tell stories and talk about life, seriously, jokingly, however-ly, paint pretty pictures, ugly pictures, fun pictures in watercolour, oil, pastel, charcoal – what a choice!
Life is good but it is up to us to show up, butch up, and just do it!