Procrastination and the SBoWG (Speeding Bullet of Writing Glory)

So some days (many days, lately!) I get going on these AMAZING bursts of writing where I’m just “oh ma gawd what in the wuurrrld” and I’m standing back in amazement at the crazy shit I’m writing (and LOVING that I’m writing) and then all I want to do, suddenly, is talk about how excited I am. It’s amazing I don’t accidentally post more spoilers.

I’ve noticed that I do this a lot, and it’s actually a form of avoidant behavior! Because when I do drop off the Speeding Bullet of WRITING GLORY (SBoWG) to spout about how glorious it is, that disperses all the energy that I’ve summoned (that maybe makes me a little bit nervous that I might actually take things too far and [insert general fear associated with the risk of creativity]). And yet! I continuously do this, even if I never actually end up spouting directly to anyone (or on any social media platform :p). I’ll think about what I MIGHT say, and that’s enough to distract me from the actual SBoWG, therefore killing my momentum. Why on earth would I do that?

‘Cause, you know what? I’ve been experimenting with NOT doing that momentum killing stuff, and HOLY CRAP that SBoWG CAN GO SO MUCH FASTER THAN I EVEN KNEW.

I think a lot of people do this, don’t get me wrong–I mean I am the specialist of specials (TM) (and j/k), just not in this case. You know how sometimes you’re doing something and you keep getting an annoying urge to check your email/Twitter/Facebook/the refrigerator? That’s not because you actually think you’re missing out on anything. It’s because some part of you wants to avoid the discomfort of focusing on what you’re doing. It’s totes normal though, so don’t worry!

Procrastination is an amazing little thing our brains trick us into doing to avoid that niggle of discomfort when you don’t want to do something. It relies on a funny concept of a “Future Self,” relaying the responsibility to GET SHIT DONE to that mythical creature of tomorrow while Present Self gets to lounge around eating cookies and bingeing on Netflix streaming.

The problem arises when it’s something you *have* to do, or something you actually *want* to do, but have a hard time doing. Like writing! I LOVE writing, it is MAGIC, but some days it’s harder than others. There’s a lot of risk involved in any form of creativity, especially when you’re putting it out to the public, and that can make a person nervous. But, as the saying goes, courage is not the absence of fear, it’s the ability to act in spite of fear. I spite you, FEAR!

How much fear is really involved in procrastination? Not a whole lot on the surface, usually, if we actually sit down and talk with it. Usually it’s just a whiny kind of “eehhhh, hmmm, I don’t knowwww…” or “I really just don’t feeeeeel like it” or “why bother.” But boy is it sneaky! It sneaks right by you precisely because it’s *not* such a big deal, and casually justifies why Future Self should be the one cramming for an exam at 2 am so that you, Present Self, can stay up for one more episode of Dr. Who.

But beneath the sneaky avoidance there often lurks something a bit more sinister, especially when it comes to writing: fear of failure; fear of rejection (literal rejection from all kinds of relevant parties); fear of criticism; fear of screwing it all up and having to start over again from scratch for the millionth time. I could go on, but it would get a lot darker than I want this post to get.

So back to courage. How do we muster it? Consider this: what is more important to you, that you do the thing you love, or that you do it perfectly? That you do the thing you love, or that you get praise for it? That you do the thing you love, or that it you make a ton of money from doing it? Because as long as the former is always the most important, fear that you won’t get those other things can be tamed, and eventually it can become really and truly inconsequential. So, as a writer, will it still suck to get a bad review? Probably! But you don’t write for reviews, do you?

If you’re like me, you write because you have stories to tell–because you love the adventure of the process–because you are a story-hungry word-witch with magical talking fingers that weave spells into your keyboard/pen and onto the page and dear gods if you don’t channel this phenomenal cosmic power the dams inside your bones will burst and there will be nothing but untold tales and inky writer bits scattered across the stars.

And when that’s how you feel about writing, there is no fear big enough to stop you from acting in spite of it.


Work In Progress Status update (for the sequel to The Hierophant!)

Percent Completed Since June, 2013: about 50%

Characters killed: 3 (technically) so far!

Oh Sh!t Moments (IMO): 10

Current Favorite Character to Write: Ana. Oh Ana. I am so sorry for the things I put you through. *secretly grinning*




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