Joel’s Journal – May 11, 2016
I find when it comes to any decision relating to work or writing, there’s this defining moment. A second where my brain starts to flood with that awful feeling, the fatigue, the brain fog. It’s like my brain knows I’m about to put him through his paces and tosses up a smoke screen of doubt to hopefully make me change my mind.
It works sometimes, but after years of doing this, it’s happening less and less, which I take as a good sign.
Simply put, that brain fog is procrastination, the “I can do it later” mentality.
To be honest, I’ve tried to eliminate this word and the feeling from my repertoire, because I have absolutely no use for it. I can deal with pretty much every other emotion, and have dealt with it in the past, love, hate, heartbreak, jealousy, happiness, the entire range, but this feeling that comes with procrastination I can completely do without.
I know that some people will say procrastination is more an action (or lack thereof) than a feeling, but I will argue otherwise. There’s definitely an emotion that comes with it.
It’s this fake feeling of assuredness that everything will be fine if you just let the work go this one time, and it’s your brain that fools you, tricks you without you even knowing it.
I found the same thing when I was trying to quit smoking. You get to a point where the cravings are pretty much minimal after about a month, they come, but they’re less severe and easier to ignore. Then, there comes a time when your brain starts to convince you that you’re healthy again, all is right with the world, why not have one cigarette? Just one, wouldn’t hurt right? Shit, it’s only ONE cigarette, right? What’s the big deal?
Sure, he’s right, only one is fine. Then one turns to two and two to three and three to an entire pack in a week and you’re right back to where you started, and your addicted brain is sitting inside your skull swimming and giggling in a yellow nicotine swirl.
Ugly right? Procrastination is the exact same thing.
You agree to let the work go one time, no biggie, I can work on that novel tomorrow. Then tomorrow comes and you’re absolutely exhausted from work and again no writing gets done, then another day and another day and yet another day go by and there’s nothing new on the page.
This mentality is absolutely terrifying to me, and I’m no Superman, I find myself getting stuck in these cycles too, but it’s getting easier and easier to pull myself out of them.
Obviously more work gets done if you just push through this feeling, but when it comes to writing, there’s an added significance to sit down and do it now.
Procrastination is an ugly monster that feeds on time, but when it comes to writers, it can also feed on your ideas because thoughts dealing with writing are slippery.
Ideas about plot, characters or where you want the story to go can seem so bright and clear in your mind one minute, that you’re so confident they’ll stick around you leave that section until tomorrow. Yet when tomorrow comes, they’re gone.
In the same way you move something big and awkward when you’ve got a good grip on it, writing is the same way. When you get a good grip, get moving. Lesson of the day.
Tip: use a notebook, it certainly helps capture those slippery ideas. No brainer, right?
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Three days in a row! Let’s hope I can keep this going for at least a full week.