Psych! This isn’t a treatise. Who writes those anymore, anyway?
It will deal with the subject of procrastination, however, a topic that was crammed into my brain pan after reading the latest post by Ms. Honesty.
Like any other human being on the planet, I’ve fallen victim to procrastination again and again. It was a way of life in college–I’d write essays the morning they were due. Not just 2-5 page ditties but 20+ page symphonies.
This habit has seeped into (or perhaps originated in?) other areas of my life: household errands, appointments with doctors, paperwork.
Oh, and finishing my novel . . .
My weapons against procrastination tend to be twofold:
1) external motivation (“motivation” can be replaced with nagging, threats of violence, or being disowned, depending on who is involved) or
2) Fuck it
Now, the first is one that we’re all familiar with. You put off doing the dishes long enough, and you will get a bit of external motivation from your spouse, parents, or child services.
The second, however, is a different beast. It involves abandoning all types of inhibitions, rationalizations, and poor excuses.
It is the purest expression of internal motivation that I know of, and it goes something like this.
I want to write 2,000 words today. But, I also want to watch a movie, read a book, play a videogame, call up a friend, eat a cheesestick, anything BUT what I know I really should be doing.
So I sit and weigh the benefits of writing those 2,000 words: I’ll have a few pages of my novel done, so I’ll be closer to editing it and publishing it and making tons of money (I didn’t say they were realistic benefits).
But I still feel the pull of those other things, particularly the cheesesticks in my fridge– I tend to eat them slowly, sinewy string by string. It’s a process.
That’s when my final defense kicks in. It’s an overwhelming sense that I should just do it. In my mind, I keep saying “fuck it, just do it.” No reasoning, no cost/benefit analysis. Just get up from my seat, pull up my Word document, and write. I then think of each of my body parts moving. “Fuck it, just pick up your feet, put your ass in your chair, and type.” I keep saying it until I feel a kind of involuntary tingling or twitch in my limbs, and when it becomes unbearable, I get up and just do what I should.
There’s no voodoo, no multi-step program, no affirmation necessary. It’s a silent prayer that starts with “fuck it” and ends with me writing.
But what about you guys? What do you do to beat procrastination? If you don’t procrastinate, then what does godhood feel like?