Procrastination is its Own Excuse
After a few days of being highly motivated and knocking out blog posts, chapters, and a few household tasks, I feel like I’ve hit a wall. I could point to the various changes in my world that are stressing me out, but that feels like excuses rather than reasons.
I could say it’s the recent full moon, or a solar wind, a coronal hole, or geomagnetic storm. Again, it feels like I’m looking for reasons to ignore the real problem which is firmly lodged in my own energy.
And yet the cats have been fighting more lately, and demanding more of my attention. Dylan lays on my chest for every meditation which has never been a spot he liked before. He follows me around the house, and except for a few hours in the morning, rarely leaves my side.
The obvious answer is they’re reading tension from me, and responding to how it affects them. Still, I have to wonder if what’s unsettling me is also unsettling them; that I’m not imagining a definite alteration in the energies surrounding us.
Using Guided Meditation to Find Focus
I started using the Stargate Experience Academy meditations again and among other things, I’m feeling calmer. When I do sit down at the computer to work, I’m more focused. Getting there is the real problem. I look at my Trello board and see I’m slightly behind on one project but ahead of schedule on my blog posts. Although I’m trying to maintain my original 4 week lead time I’d set as a goal, I get there, then slip back a few days. It’s not yet consistent.
I’ve also lost the walking habit I’d had for 6 months or so. Once the weather got crazy windy, or cold, or rainy, I used it as an excuse to start my day without the walk. Now that I’m dealing with swollen toes on one foot, I have another excuse to be lazy. I can tell you one thing. I do NOT like giving in to all these excuses.
Sure, you can say the obvious: “Then do something about it!” but if you’re one who procrastinates, you know it’s not that simple. Like it or not, I have to get to the root of the problem, or my procrastination tree will, like the kudzu vines in New Orleans, take over my life and allow nothing else to thrive.
Even the Big Names Must Struggle at Times
I wonder if I was a big name like Nora Roberts or Brenda Novak if I’d find it so hard to keep moving on to the next project, or finish the ones I have? Would a fan base like theirs drive me to finish one novel and dive right into another without taking more than a breath in between? Or do they have days like I do where dragging myself into my desk chair to write one more chapter or work on rewriting others seems like an insurmountable task?
In all fairness, they’ve put a ton of effort into building their fan bases, and even more in writing the number of books that grace library and bookstore shelves with their names on the cover. They’ve learned by doing the amount of effort it takes to be successful, and that it’s not an effort you stop making once you are successful. In all likelihood, when they were where I am now (though admittedly, much younger) they worked their craft like the full-time job it truly is.
I’d like to say I put in at least 40 hours a week writing, but even now, when I’m putting in more time than ever (except during NaNoWriMo) I can’t honestly say I am. I write for 30-45 minutes every morning. It isn’t anything that will ever be ready for public consumption, but I’ve gotten ideas for blog posts and book chapters from the exercise. In fact, that’s what it is. It’s like the spirals we used to draw when learning to write cursive. We got used to the motion and exercised the muscles first.
Exercising the Writing Muscle
Morning Pages is my daily writing warmup. I do it every day and have only missed a handful of days in the 3-4 years I’ve been following the habit. There are days I point to my Morning Pages saying: “I wrote today. See?” But if it was the only writing I did that day, I don’t really feel that good about it. I still feel like I’ve let myself down.
In fact, recognizing how seldom I took myself seriously or honored commitments to myself was what got me to where I am today: 3-4 weeks ahead on blog posts, all Medium posts scheduled about half a month ahead, a month and a half away from having all 55 chapters of “Sasha’s Journey” revised and uploaded to ChapterBuzz, and 4 chapters of “Rebuilding After Suicide” rewritten.
Still, I beat myself up for the days when I get nothing done. Or no writing, anyway. I think part of the problem is I’ve become so accustomed to fighting procrastination, that it’s a spectre I expect to always be there, and always require battling before I can get on with what I want and need to do.
Ignoring the Voices, Both Internal and External
I also know when I ignore all the voices, all the excuses, all the temptations which try to drag my attention away from scheduled tasks and simply put my fingers on the keyboard, amazing things happen. Words flow, ideas form, and pretty soon, there’s a thousand words or more. I look back 30 minutes or an hour to when I was bemoaning my lack of motivation, and laugh at the person I let myself become, if only for a couple of hours.
Once upon a time, I was a mother, a wife, a student, and an employee. There were never enough hours to be everything to everyone. I took time out to take care of me, and took a lot of flack for it from people I used to call “friend”. In their eyes, I wasn’t allowed to take time out for myself until everyone and everything else had been seen to. That’s how they lived their lives, and like a religion, thought it was the only way to live. But none of them were happy.
Busy People Take Time for Self-Care
Yet here I am now, begrudging myself a few hours of down time because it means I’m not writing 8 hours a day, or keeping an immaculate house (which won’t happen in my life time unless I indulge in a live-in housekeeper). Where has all this unnecessary guilt come from? It wasn’t long ago, I was thrilled to have 2 weeks worth of blog posts scheduled. When I reached 3 and was consistent, I was ecstatic. Now I’m teetering on the edge of 4 and maintaining at least 2 other projects as well, and I’m unhappy??? WTH!
While it’s true a busy person will often make time for one more task, having done it at one time or another, I know it comes at a cost. Something gets pushed aside, and usually it’s something for myself. These days I indulge myself, sometimes to extreme. But I fail to give myself credit for what I’m getting done too. I think it’s time I focused less on the hours I procrastinate (and maybe I’m germinating ideas in those hours), and more on the number of words I’ve written, the interactions I’m having with people both virtually and live, and the ground I’ve covered without realizing where I used to be is many miles behind me now.
I need to remind myself life is too short to miss out on the simple pleasures like naps, reading, and sitting on the sofa cuddling the cats.
With Overwhelming Gratitude
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful for the Universal head slaps that remind me I’m being too hard on myself.
- I’m grateful for all I’ve accomplished, and all I’ve yet to accomplish. When I put it all in the same place, even I have to admit it’s pretty impressive.
- I’m grateful for the roads I’ve yet to travel, but which I’m drawing closer to every day.
- I’m grateful I’m learning to push the fear aside and dive headlong into whatever makes the words flow.
- I’m grateful for abundance; opportunities, joy, friendship, dancing, health, humor, conviction, community, support, happiness, inspiration, balance, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward