Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Great Procrastinator

The definition of procrastinate per dictionary.com is stated... as a verb used without object, to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost.



Or, the verb form, used with an object, to put off till another day or time; defer; delay.



And, what do you know, if you look close enough, you'll see this...



A.K.A. "Queen Procrastinator"












I've been thinking...







about what it means to be a procrastinator and why I am how I am.

I tend to start projects - it could be as simple as folding the laundry to handling the household finances - and then I become distracted, take care of the distraction (phone call, a 4 yr olds need, the baby crying), then I start a new task. I forget about the task I was working on before the distraction occurred and don't get back to the original task until hours, or days, later.

It's frustrating to be this way. Not completing tasks only backs up the natural progression of things.

Of course, this problem trickles into my writing.

I know I must not be alone because yesterday I attended the monthly Georgia Romance Writer's meeting. This year, the PRO gang is sponsoring the FinishTheBook contest as well as something new, the Rejection Contest. Anyone who wants to enter pays 5 bucks to enter the contest. When you finish your book, you bring your completed novel to the designated PRO person and you are eligible to win the money collected if your name is drawn at the end of the year.

The contest for Rejections - which is new - is similar to the FinishTheBook, only instead of bringing your completed manuscript, your are bringing all the rejection letters you have collected from sending queries or fulfilling requests for your manuscript to editors or agents. The person with the most rejection letters at the end of the year is the winner of the money mu-la.

These contests are trying to motivate us...

In my personal experience, I entered the Finish The Book Contest. I paid my money and entered....

.... I wrote some on my novel...

.... I revised what I had written...

.... I became distracted by another idea I had for a story that sounded better than my current WIP....

....I gave up that idea and went back to the original WIP...


..... I wrote more and revised some more....


But by December, I wasn't Finished With the Book!

Now, fast forward a year and a half later... my WIP finaled and won a contest. I have requests from editors and agents... I have been working on my WIP which I am trying to make perfect before I mail it to the editor and agents... and in the mean time, I became sick with a cold that lasted 2 months, I had a baby, holidays happened, and now there are other *daily* distractions.

I'm still plugging away at the WIP. I'm determined to finish it and mail it. I'm not afraid to begin collecting rejections... I'm also not afraid of acceptance ;)

I'm motivated by the possibility of both rejection and acceptance. I'm working slowly toward my goal of Finishing What I've Started by following these self-assigned guidelines:

#1: When writing on the WIP, turn off email.
- Avoid browsing the Internet and checking Facebook for mandated periods of time.

#2: Don't start more than one task at a time.
- If I'm folding laundry in the living room, don't venture into the bathroom to start cleaning. No one can be in two places at once.

#3: When distracted, return to the original task ASAP.
-Even if it's completing a task of washing dishes... or, folding laundry...

What about you? Have you found yourself procrastinating? Were you able to overcome it to finish your task? How did you accomplish your goal?

7 comments:

  1. Oh girlfriend, you know I'm right there with you. Heck, I'd be the one calling you into the other room trying to distract you :-) And we can't even claim ADD. Though we are easily distracted by shiny objects :-P

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  2. I am the Queen of Organization-I can organize anything and stay on task until I'm done. Until it comes to writing. Since the Queen of Procrastination position is already filled, I will accept the Princess of Procrastination Crown!

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  3. Mindy, Glad you're back girl... Yeah, you and I are a pair. But you overcame yours and have accomplished goals and I hope to be right behind you there!

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  4. Edwina,

    Thank you Queen of Organization! You just got yourself a spot on this blog to discuss how to get organized! I'll contact you to schedule this... My husband claims I am the most disorganize person he knows!

    Well, I happen to know where everything is in those neat little piles...

    However, i need help!

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  5. Well, Christy, I'm feeling your pain. How many times have we talked about this? Too many. On both sides.

    Usually my reasons for procrastination is because I'm overwhelmed. I've taken on too much or had too many activities to complete at once. I've had to learn how to make writing a priority without eliminating my "recharge" time.

    One thing I think writers have to remember is to give themselves a break whenever a major life changing occurance (i.e. a baby, a new job, etc.)hits. It takes a while to adjust. When I went back to work for the first time in 11 years, I didn't get much writing done that first year. But, slowly I've learned to compartmentalize and to be content with getting "something" done even if it's not exactly all I wanted to accomplish. I guess what I'm trying to say is- don't be too hard on yourself.

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  6. I didn't know your photo was in the dictionary, christy! ;)

    Great post. I'm glad you've set yourself some goals. I think that really helps. I also tend to get distracted and sometimes find I have 2 or 3 activites going at the same time!

    Thankfully, I'm better in my writing than I am in other life things. I can sit and write for hours until I can hardly stand up! I've been known to be found typing away when my hubby's alarm clock goes off. :)

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  7. Great points & well said, Dianna.

    Missy, I wish I had your stamina! Sounds like you've had some all nighters. Maybe your picture is in the dictionary under "night owl."
    :)

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