For centuries, writers have procrastinated writing articles, books, stories, advice columns, and poems. In the sparkling newness of this twenty-first century, we can now put off writing blog posts, too. I found myself this week doing a great deal of things that were more important. Here is some advice for anyone having difficulties.
1. Write a list of the things you need to do. I mean everything. The dusting you didn’t do last time you had company, the deep cleaning, the oil change, the present you should buy for your third cousin once removed. When you put your mind to all the things you should be doing instead of writing, you will probably find there are a lot of them. In fact, people have found that they can spend years on that list. Give yourself a quiet, unlimited time frame to make this list. Then think it over later and feel free to add to it. If a long list seems overwhelming, think in terms of, “What can I do today to avoid writing?”
2. Renew old friendships. Or new ones. Look at how often you get to spend time with your friends. Are there friends you have been meaning to talk to for a long time? Do you have a letter you put off that you wanted to write? Ask your friends out to dinner and a movie. See if anyone wants to go camping for the weekend. Use that vacation time you’ve been saving and make it a whole week of not writing, visiting friends in other cities. Excuse me, where was I? I just had to watch a video on Yahoo! Eventually, your friends may feel used. At that point, you may have to make a decision to either stop procrastinating quite so much, or go find new friends.
3. Read a good book. Some writers say they find inspiration in reading. Run with it. You have the excuse to yourself and others that you are doing research for the next great American novel. Compared to the above suggestions, this one may seem hardly worth mentioning. How much time can you really spend reading instead of writing? I once heard of a woman who stopped reading when she decided to have children and didn’t trust herself to start again until they were both well past graduating college. She knew there were times she made her husband wait until she finished a book to eat supper, and she wanted to be available and on top of everything for her children. If a person can forget to feed their family on time because of a good book, it’s entirely possible to forget to write a book or blog post because you were too busy reading.
My Personal Arsenal
To give you some idea of how I use these methods of procrastination, I will briefly tell you about my last few days. Keep in mind, it was much easier for me to continue my procrastination because I had work all day Saturday. On Wednesday afternoon, my mom came to visit and she spent two nights, so my free time was spent with her, not actively procrastinating, just enjoying our time together. This could be considered my gateway to procrastination. Friday I talked to my roommates during my break at work and made plans to bring home a pizza (Who can resist Little Caesar’s $5 pizzas?) and watch Psycho. After the movie, I read my book for a few hours and went to bed. Saturday evening after work I sank so low as to go buy groceries, because it was on my list. I am the kind of person who can subsist on eggs for three meals in a row, or for that matter anything that is left in the refrigerator, just because I don’t want to go buy groceries. Then I played Words With Friends and talked to a friend on skype while also looking at an open new post document. The advantage to procrastination on the computer is there are so many options at your fingertips. By having a document open, you can also decrease the chance of residual feelings of guilt. At least you tried. Finally, I ended the evening with another movie.
By following these simple tips, you can avoid writing almost anything. Depending on the situation, it probably isn’t best to procrastinate forever. But I assure you that if you wanted to, it would be possible. I hope that my wisdom has helped you and contributed to your procrastination. I’m off to spend time in the sunshine. It’s on my list.