by Linda Tzoref
It’s amazing I even was able to write this blog post since I am the Queen of Procrastination. No one anointed me with this title; it is one I have given myself. We as writers are known for being procrastinators, even joking amongst ourselves about how the kitchen is spotless, the laundry is done and folded, and all the meals have been cooked for the next fourteen days but the writing? The novel? How is the novel going? Eh, didn’t have enough time to work on it today. I’ll definitely get to it tomorrow.
So what is the cure for this writerly malady? Wish I could tell you, still searching for the answer myself. I know the cause of it, of course, but simply knowing the origins doesn’t mean you can stop the behavior. It’s sort of like acknowledging that you eat too many doughnuts when you’re distraught, but more importantly how do you prevent yourself from such gorging? The irony is that you will feel so much better if you actually park yourself in a chair and write. So why is there still all the procrastination in actually sitting down in the chair? Why avoid something that could make you feel better? The answer is obvious; it doesn’t always make us feel better. Six shitty paragraphs aren’t better than zero shitty paragraphs. Or are they? Yet the only thing to do, the only salve for the festering wound, is to write, and to keep writing. Even though you may produce five pages of unusable work, the mere act of doing it guarantees that at some point your writing will improve. That’s not to say you will reach a level of expertise (whatever that means) eventually, it just means that your writing will improve. No one bakes a perfect apple pie the first go round. But keep doing it, and you will end up with an edible and presentable pie, golden crust and all.
Scheduling and organizing work and my life has never been my strong suit. Efficiency always seemed like something reprehensible, the hallmark of an overbearing mother or a communist dictatorship. I have always found it the domain of the office worker drone. Yet every day tools are necessary in shooing away the evil procrastinating monster. Other things such as exercising are scheduled, why not writing? Don’t really productive people lead highly scheduled lives? Don’t I want to be a highly productive person? Yes, of course, but not at the expense of quality. I am old enough to realize it doesn’t have to be one or the other.
How do you overcome procrastination? Is there something to be done?
Linda Tzoref was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She received her BA in philosophy from San Francisco State University and an MFA from Emerson College. Her work has appeared in Hot Metal Bridge and Diverse Voices Quarterly. Currently, she is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is working on her first novel.