Thursday, December 8, 2011

Insecure Writers Group Post: Procrastination

"Never procrastinate today what you can put off till tomorrow."

Wise words of wisdom from my father (also one of my parents many trivia team names, they also have "My couch pulls out but I don't" and "I'm wearing woman's underwear, and it feels so good") Where was I? Oh, procrastination, and insecurity.

It seems a good topic since I am a day late on my insecure blog post, and because I've been procrastinating writing my blog, and because I've been procrastinating on writing a post on procrastiantion ever since Bobby my nemisis over at Wildy Urban wrote Procrastinators Anonymous .

Now you might be wondering what the P word has to do with writing, or perhaps the I word. Well back in October when I first found out about the Insecure Writers Group, I wrote a post about the difference between trying and failing (or something like that), and the P word in my opinion is basically based (like the alliteration)on the fear of failing, and if you never try you can never fail. Remember the insecure steroid guy? I'm gonna relate to that or well, I am going to try to.

I think there are a few things that lead to procrastination to me.


I've been procrastinating alot lately. Alot alot. I've also been under more stress than normal lately, work has been intense, I have a dance show this weekend (five hours of practice a week takes up alot of time), I am broke (dance show prep costs lots of moneys) and general life is stressful stress. So, because of that stress I've been doing other things that trigger stress relief, reading/knitting/running/watching tv.

But, those are all excuses. I know they are excuses, but I do them anyway.

Then there is the lazyness element, but I am not sure if lazy-ness is a true cause because a lot of the things I do to procrastinate writing are harder than actually writing, running/dancing/knitting (maybe not knitting). They are lazy in one aspect though, they dont require alot of thought.

But then there is the fear. Fear of sucsess, fear of failure. Insecurity. You procrastinate doing something if you are afraid to do it. But still. I don't think that is actually the root of the problem.

I love to write, I have fun crafting a perfect scene, or listening my characters bicker with one another in my head when I write their dialogue. Just me, my netbook/laptop/pen and paper, music and a cup of tea, sticking my head in a world where anything goes because its MY WORLD. Spending time thinking up what motivates my characters etc. Don't get me wrong, its work, but its fun. Here's the wrench though. The second you call yourself a writer, or make friends who are writers, writing is not just something you like doing. Its something you should be doing. Its something you have to do, or you are failing. Then there is stress, then their is worry, then their is insecurity.

The joy gets lost in everything else. So to me, the way to shake procrastination is to make it not something you should be doing, but make writing be what you WANT to be doing. If you are not a writer, but instead someone who likes to write maybe then you cannot procrastinate writing since its not something you should be doing, and if its not something you are doing for any reason other than you want to, you can also shake that insecurity from failing away.

This month, I'm gonna try to remember the joy, and see if it helps.

Do you procrastinate?

p.s. When I joined the Insecure Writers Group, I was the 173rd member, they are now up to 230 members? How many have you checked out?


  1. Do I procrastinate? Wow... do I ever. I'm an Olympic-caliber procrastinator. If there was a world championship for procrastination, I would... not even show up until it was already over.

    I don't really write, but I procrastinate ALL the things, and you're absolutely right that fear is at the root of it. Even if the fear is completely irrational. I get a sort of deep down terror at the thought of certain things, that I react to by not doing them YET, choosing to do something else first and deal with them later.

    It happens with things that are going to be repetitive and boring, or things which I haven't figured out the details of yet and the process of figuring out the details intimidates me. Or with tasks so large that I don't know where to start. I can end up procrastinating starting a conversation, even with someone I really want to talk to, because I'm afraid that I'll be bothering them, or that I'll say something stupid and make myself look like a fool in their eyes.

    I think that feeling intimidated is the root of it - I allow myself to too easily feel intimidated by things and allow that feeling to win out over what I want to, or need to, do. I wonder how one overcomes the feeling that something is too intimidating to face?

  2. But I dont think fear is the root of it. I think its part of it, but not the root of it.

    I think the stress of needing to do something, having to do something makes doing that thing not fun. Then it being not fun makes you not want to do it. That is the root of it.

    Fear is an excuse to not do something you just dont want to do.

  3. All very true. I think, for me at least, the stress of needing to do something or the fear of things that might go wrong (like that I might end up offending or pestering someone who I want to keep liking me) makes me feel like the thing isn't going to be fun and so I procrastinate it.

    BUT, often, once I get over feeling intimidated and start actually doing it, it's still fun and the stressful aspects go away, at least partly.

    So what it actually ends up feeling like is different than what I thought it would feel like. And for me, that means procrastination becomes a vicious cycle but if I can get over it, the getting over it can sometimes be self-reinforcing too.

  4. My procrastination skills are finely tuned. If only I could get my writing skills up to the same level I would have a best seller written and published. :-)

  5. I love the idea of a support group, especially when I find myself saying "I'm a writer" with the implied 'and I need help!'

    It's been two days since I've written, which makes me a procrastinator, in this case, of working on revisions. Thanks for the link to Insecure Writers...I'm off to join :)

  6. Kristieinbc--I know what you mean, If I had a word for every minute I've procrastinated I would have a book, of course they probably wouldn't be good words.

    Hannah-Yes, go forth and check it out! It really is a great idea, plus it helps people with blogs that don't get lots of traffic get traffic, which of course helps with insecurity. And its also really awesome to see 200+ other writers who also feel insecure.

  7. Yes, and I am doing it right now unfortunately. With my second book coming out in February, a lot of people expect a trilogy. And never planned more than one book in the first place, and now I'm expected to produce a third. And that is stress and pressure. The third needs to be the best and what if it's not?
    Thanks for participating in the IWSG!

  8. Stress leads me to procrastinate as well. Thinking of something you "Want" to do helps a lot.

  9. Alex--Thanks for visiting! Its always rough when people try to turn one off's into series or books. This happens to me with short stories. I know you will pull it off and it will be the best one yet.

    Libby--thinking of something you want to do, or thinking of why you want to do it also helps me...I want to run more, not because I love running but because I love the way I feel after I run. Having something to look forward to really helps. Plus I decided I was allowed to get a tattoo after my first 5k.