This was originally published on my Substack, Memoir Junkie Wannabe Author.
I’m convinced everyone has experienced a level of procrastination so complicated and frustrating that you don’t even know who you are anymore. Or sometimes, you can’t stand yourself.
I tend to procrastinate, especially when I get stuck on something. I was deep in some major procrastination in the early few months of my book. I’d write, then stop. I’d tell myself, you’re doing everything wrong because you have to get the outline done first. No, just keep writing. Arrrgghhh. It’s like I had my own version of Gollum in my head, constantly contradicting myself and questioning every move.
My book needed events that would need to be turned into scenes and then chapters. Then (in theory) I’d have to piece these all together in a coherent way that makes sense with my timeline. Cue the head-exploding emoji.
Until I took an online class for structure, I basically Googled the shit out of this and didn’t find anything comprehensive (that was free) to help me understand it.
So, I delayed writing because I didn’t know what I was doing. It was confusing and I found myself walking away from my laptop to go vacuum. Or clean my toilet. Or go make a snack. Usually, the snack would win. I eat a lot of snacks.
Getting past the grey area
I swear you can’t be a writer without procrastinating. There are guides, videos, books, webinars, and online classes about how to stop being a lame-o and just write. Even the podcasts I follow go deep on this topic.
Much of the advice seems to be straightforward and fluffy—just write your gosh dang vomit draft. Edit later. Stop stalling. Set a schedule. Do it every day.
I have a lot. Many times, I just don’t have the brain power, as most of it was already spent in the early mornings banging out articles I’m paid to write. Or editing.
Truthfully, I probably work on my book three times a week. I’m trying to get into a daily habit.
My current source of motivation comes from the online writing class I’m taking which requires me to complete weekly homework before class on Thursdays. And it’s been incredibly helpful because I have a deadline and I’m forced to do it.
But when it comes to writing chapters on my own, it’s a different story. Like right now, I’m writing this Substack article when I could be working on my book.
Even when I do a solid half hour, 45 minutes, or *gasp* an entire hour of writing, I feel so good. I feel deserving of a walk, lunch, yoga, or a hike.
But on the days I don’t get any writing done, I feel the disappointment creep in. How are you ever going to get this done in a year, you know how fast a year goes. It’s always the same cycle of feeling overwhelmed, then slightly panicked and anxious.
And this is what sometimes ends up happening—I think about the scenes I need to write—in my head. As in, without writing it down. It’s like being hungry and thinking about a delicious sandwich that isn’t in front of you.
Finding a community of writers
So, this is a very long-winded way of saying that I want to (need to) be around other writers so we can put an end to procrastination. Er, at least when we’re in a room together.
I think I have 20,000-ish words written and maybe a community of writers will help me get to the finish line?
Read the rest on my Substack, Memoir Junkie Wannabe Author.