My favorite pastime just might be doing anything other than what I should be doing. What cracks me up about this is a lot of time the things I should be doing are things I like doing, I’m just getting lazy.
I get on the computer. “I’m going to write,” I say. Actually I’m to the point now that, when I open my laptop and sit down, my nephew asks me, “Are you working?” Because I used to tell him all the time that I work on the computer.
“Yeah, I’m working,” I’ll say to him. And sometimes I’m telling the truth. I’m trying to get writing done.
- On YouTube watching trailers (I have a thing for really well-done trailers) or looking up new songs or mashups/remixes
- Chatting with friends
- Scrolling through Facebook or Twitter
- Watching a movie/TV show on the TV while my laptop is open but not really in use
- Online window shopping
- Opening and closing documents of mine
- Editing/beta-reading friends’ work
There are a lot of options here. None of which actually get me any closer to having a finished manuscript.
And that’s only the distractions I find when on the computer. The list grows when I add everything else from my life. When my head hits the pillow at the end of my day, there’s a little anxiety as I realize that I haven’t tackled any of my goals yet again.
I can’t be a writer if I don’t write.
So what does one do when they find themselves constantly procrastinating their writing?
Well, first I need to sit down and prioritize.
What’s important? Writing, obviously. Is it more important than going through Amazon and wrestling with myself so I don’t add a bunch of paperbacks to my shopping cart? Absolutely. Is it more important than music videos and trailers? Absolutely.
What can I do to minimize the temptation to distract myself before I actually write? Well, I can’t exactly shut down the internet in our house. But I can log off on my own computer. If I need the internet for searches, I could keep it on a search engine and leave it at that. Be strict with myself. If I’m not writing during writing time, I have to log off the computer and grab a notebook instead.
I could also have my family and friends challenge me. Tell me I have to write a certain amount of words. Or write a whole chapter. That way I feel like I have someone expecting something of me, and will actually attempt to meet that expectation. I can let myself down, but other people? Not so much.
Before any of this can happen, though, I have to be determined. It relies on that priority. If writing sinks low on my ladder of importance, then nothing will ever change with it. And I’d like it to change because I’ve wanted to be a writer for so long, and I’ve really enjoyed my stories.
There’s a time to look at YouTube, or Twitter, or Facebook. There’s a time to lounge and do nothing. But there’s also a time where I have to concentrate on work.
So here we go.