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Methods of Procrastination, Chapter 3: Procrastinception and Restarting

In Creative Inspiration, Methods of Procrastination on May 12, 2017 at 7:45 pm

In previous blog posts I have written about procrastination, not from a self-help, “how to become more effective” point-of-view, but from a contrarian perspective which celebrates the stalled, the stuck, the inert.

Since it has been four years since I updated this blog with new posts, it only seems fitting that I revisit this series on the Methods of Procrastination.

At the end of my penultimate post, I wrote, “I should be back to writing a regular weekly blog in May.” That was in 2013.

Okay. So what kept me from writing this blog? In no specific order:

  • Oddly enough, writing. I initially stopped because I was writing a poem a day for National Poetry month in April and I didn’t feel like I had the energy to work a full-time job and do both writing projects at the same time, not if I wanted to do them well.
  • Moving, which is actually a several month long process of packing, moving, unpacking. I’m still unpacking.
  • Developing a new audio drama podcast. My writing partner Sam and I have come up with a great idea that we are certain people are going to love. We believe the fans of our previous series, the Lovecraftian horror- soap opera The Unspeakable and the Inhuman, will enjoy this as will a bunch of new listeners. Can’t talk much about it now because we are still in the development stage. And honestly, the momentum we had going got derailed by the next item on my list.
  • Writing a novel. My writing partner Sam suggested I participate in National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo), since he and several friends of his were doing it. I started last year. Still working on it.

(Side Note: I am a king of procrastination. Do you see that I have a knack for stacking procrastinations on top of each other? Not one, not two, not three, but FOUR writing projects have been delayed by OTHER writing projects. It’s a Russian nesting doll of procrastination, a veritable procrastination-Inception (a Procrastinception, if you will).)

  • Taking care of my mother while undergoing cancer treatment. That took a few months. No worries. She’s in remission now.
  • Being unemployed and looking for a new job. Still looking for work right now.
  • Spending an incalculable amount of time watching YouTube videos whenever I found myself bored or stressed and then didn’t realize that I had spent hours looking at videos until I noticed that the amount of sunlight had changed.

I don’t remember what else. It seems like there should be more. That seems to be enough for a single year of procrastination, but four years?

The truth is none of these things became obstacles to me writing my blog. They were actually priorities. They were things I prioritized over writing the blog and the number one thing I prioritized was depression, an intricate series of thought processes, emotional habits, and self-doubts that led me to prioritize believing my contribution to the world, of my writing, was not a worthwhile thing.  I saw writing as self-indulgent, unimportant, frivolous, and not as significant as other contributions I could make, such as activism, financial investment, political participation, doing “real” work. I sought and received treatment for the depression and am now much better. I still have to combat the internalized voices that want to warp my sense of self-worth, but  I have come to realize that there is actually nothing harmful about bringing my writing to the world. My writing has never damaged the world.  In fact, it has created joy in more than a few. A few have told me such and I am choosing to believe them. Writing is also the main thing I want to do in my life. It is the main contribution to the world I wish to bring. If this contribution creates joy and causes no harm, then I am doing a greater wrong by not writing, because I am actively not adding to the potential joy in the world. So I’m deciding, it is my duty to write, advance my craft and put my writing in the world. I have to do more of it and make more of it happen.

I’m reminded that when I started this blog, I was stymied by my own impossible standards of how this blog should go. At the end of my first blog entry, I wrote:

I’m going to write every day, freewrite, long hand, for at least 10 minutes, and at the end of the week I’ll edit one (or more) of my freewrites as I type it and then post it. No excuses. Every Monday, there should be something new posted here, whether or not it’s perfect. This is how I’ll engage the practice of vulnerability and imperfection.

I don’t know that I will post every week, but this is a good model to continually engage the continuous craft of vulnerability and imperfection. You will see more blogs soon.

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Methods of Procrastination: Chapter 2

In Creative Inspiration, Methods of Procrastination on February 4, 2013 at 11:30 pm

After splicing together freewrites about Tarantino’s Django Unchained and researching other people’s criticism, I realize I don’t really have anything especially new or insightful to say that hasn’t already been said. The movie has been out for over 6 weeks, after all, and everyone has pretty much taken their shot at it. However, I am going back and forth about whether I should write it anyway. While I’m trying to decide, I…

  • Download “The Walking Dead” video game episodes for my xBox 360.
  • Read online articles from David Walker,  Erin Aubry Kaplan, and Jelani Cobb about Django Unchained to see if there’s something there I could riff from, but then feel that merely restating and organizing what they’ve already said is kind of cheating, especially when I can’t think of something new to add.
  • Make breakfast.
  • Read email – which is mostly notices of deals from businesses whose mailing list I’m on.
  • Read Twitter feed, become absorbed in reading Neil Gaiman’s retweets after he says he’ll post 12 questions for his twitter followers to answer, one every hour, each pertaining to a month of the year, each answer a potential seed for 12 stories he plans to write.
  • Write answers for Gaiman’s questions for February (Q: strangest thing that ever happened to you in February? A: I was a high school nerd who got a secret valentine from the most beautiful girl in class. Cliché, but true) and March (Q: What historical figure does March remind you of? A: William Blake. His angels look blown in from March winds.)
  • Laugh at Wil Wheaton’s tweet about his dog’s confusion over their owner dancing to Public Enemy.
  • Clean Bedroom.
  • Sort Laundry.
  • Become obsessed by reading other people’s answers to Gaiman’s questions. Latest question: Where would you spend your perfect June?
  • Become disturbed that I can’t pinpoint the times for the other more nostalgia based questions (weirdest gift in May, happiest memory of April). Am I getting old and my memory is going?
  • Realize I’m hungry and figure out what I should be having for lunch, but instead of making lunch I just sit at my desk listening to my stomach growl.
  • Realize this means the procrastination has crept from writing into more vital areas of my life and wonder if I should be worried about this.
  • Also, realize that I downloaded the “Walking Dead” video game but haven’t bothered to play any of it yet. I’m even procrastinating my procrastination.
  • Continue to be stumped about Gaiman’s June question but wrack my brain for an answer anyway.
  • Become discouraged when Gaiman doesn’t retweet my answers. For a second, I take this to mean I’m a boring writer.
  • Become fearful over my obsession with Gaiman’s exercise because this means I’m screwed for the next 6 hours.
  • Finally admit that I am reacting to Gaiman’s twitter feed for the sake of his writing exercise instead of being proactive with my own writing and finishing today’s damn blog.
  • After answering Gaiman’s question for July (Q: What is the most unusual thing you have ever seen in July? A: I was 8 and visiting my grandparents in Chicago the first time I saw Ultraman, Speed Racer, and Doctor Who), I again realize how heavily mediated my life is. I wonder if this is a good blog topic and realize I already wrote about it last week. At least I was ahead on something.

Methods of Procrastination

In Methods of Procrastination on October 30, 2012 at 1:24 am

There are many communities, websites, and blogs on the internet that dispense advice on how to finally sit down and write the work you’ve always wanted to write. There’s almost too many of them. In order to stand out from the crowd, I’m taking the contrarian approach and will give you insight into how I have avoided writing a well-written and meaningful blog this week.

My favored methods of procrastination have been:

  • Watching videos on YouTube, starting with channels I’m subscribed to , linking onto videos YouTube suggests, and finally watching painfully unfunny comedy sketches because a girl the thumbnail looked pretty.
  • Sorting laundry
  • Reading Twitter, starting with people that I’m Following, linking to accounts of people that those people have retweeted, and finally clicking through twitpics of steampunk cosplayers. (FYI – I’m amused at how many words my spellcheck doesn’t recognize in that previous sentence.)
  • Reading through all the freewrites I wrote this week three times or more each, wondering, even though I don’t like any of them to post, if I can combine any of them to make at least something mediocre.
  • Lunch
  • Dentist Appointment
  • Folding laundry
  • Trying to figure out what I’m going to talk about with my friends who I usually meet with every other Monday to discuss creative goals and accomplishments.
  • Having a meeting with friends to discuss your creative accomplishments when you haven’t accomplished anything.
  • Play 007 Goldeneye on the Wii
  • Play 007 Legends on the Xbox 360.
  • Listen to podcast video game and movie reviews.
  • Google “TED Talks: Procrastination”
  • Go to adviceforwriters.com and read page after page as if this somehow will excuse me from not writing
  •  Holding my head in my hands, staring at my desk, despondent that people are expecting more out of me and my writing than a bulleted list.
  • Reassuring myself that I’m only doing this for myself and that the important thing is that I meet my deadline and word count. Get the job done.
  • Worrying that people are going to respond sympathetically , which, I know, sounds backwards, but would have me feeling like I presented myself as a loser instead of having written something clever, something many of us relate to that we all can find amusing.
  • OK, look, man, really this is a cry for help. You know it. The people reading this know it. You haven’t convinced anyone.
  • No, at best this is a cry for help. Call it what it really is. A last minute excuse to write the simplest dreck possible just so you can say you didn’t miss posting a blog this Monday.
  • Brainstorm various ways to actually write this as an insightful, well-crafted piece.
  • Scrap those ideas. Google “sexy cosplay”