Now or Later? Taming the Writing Beast — Procrastination!

Guest Post by Author, Patsy Summey

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“Never do today what you can put off ‘til tomorrow!” Heard that one before? Hopefully, this isn’t your motto! If it is…you’re familiar with the anxiety of not having time to get everything done—because you’ve put off and put off until that “Oops, I did it again!” realization sinks in. When you’re trying to play beat the clock to file that report or find information for a story deadline, you can almost hear those famous words from Dr. Phil ringing in your ears—“How’s that workin’ for you?”

Ideally, none of us would postpone doing what we need to get done. In that utopia, we’d all know instinctively how to break big projects into small bites. (Or small bytes, for all of the computer geeks.) When you have a story to write or the great American novel to construct, realize it can’t be done in one session. Take it in steps: Make that call, set up that file, save your research in a file you can find later, and write something every day.

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Looking for inspiration to get me moving on this post, I happened upon a collection of sayings on goodreads.com about procrastination and realized many creative minds suffered the same addiction. . . procrastination!

The complete list is on: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/procrastination. Here’s a sampling of their procrastination quotes:

“The thing all writers do best is to find ways to avoid writing.”—Alan Dean Foster

“I am a person who works well under pressure. In fact, I work so well under pressure that at times, I will procrastinate in order to create this pressure.”—Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

“Procrastination is not Laziness,” I tell him. “It is fear. Call it by its right name, and forgive yourself.”—Julia Cameron

“Absolutely not. I’m an expert in procrastination, but the last thing I want you to think is that I’m incompetent, too. Because I’m actually pretty good at what I do.” —Nicholas Sparks

“Lack of confidence, sometimes alternating with unrealistic dreams of heroic success, often leads to procrastination, and many studies suggest that procrastinators are self-handicappers: rather than risk failure, they prefer to create conditions that make success impossible, a reflex that of course creates a vicious cycle.” —James Surowiecki

“The scholar’s greatest weakness: calling procrastination research.” —Stephen King

“We are so scared of being judged that we look for every excuse to procrastinate.” —Erica Jong

“Procrastinate now, don’t put it off.” —Ellen DeGeneres

“I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do – the day after.” —Oscar Wilde

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” —Karen Lamb

“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.” —Rita Mae Brown

“God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.” —St. Augustine of Hippo

“Success is not obtained overnight. It comes in installments: you get a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow until the whole package is given out. The day you procrastinate, you lose that day’s success.” —Israelmore Ayivu

“My mother always told me I wouldn’t amount to anything because I procrastinate. I said, ‘Just wait.’” —Judy Tenuto

“Whatever happens, do not let waiting become procrastination.” —Neeraj Agnihotri

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.” —Mark Twain

We’ll let Mark Twain have the last laugh on us!

Judging from this sampling of authors who have famous quotes about the art of procrastinating, many of us are in good company! Count me in -—I started this article for an email to accompany the March 2013 DAWG Newsletter–so, it’s not too late to resolve to quit postponing and “Just Do It!”

I was surprised to find Procrastinators Anonymous is a bonafide 12-step program. I figured folks who wanted to beat procrastination wouldn’t have gotten around to founding this group! One post from Jim Murdoch might be a good read for fellow procrastinators when you get around to reading it: http://jim-murdoch.blogspot.com/2011/03/procrastinators-anonymous.html

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I just saw this on FaceBook and couldn’t resist adding one more thought ~ Patsy

Happy Writing to you!

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Patsy Summey is a charter member of the Dallas Area Writers Group, a published author, and a procrastinator extraordinaire*. She plans to build a website. . . tomorrow!

* https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=procrastinator%20extraordinaire

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