There are myriads of reasons we procrastinate but this is one of the more convincing theories I’ve come across:
A primary reason writers procrastinate is in order to build up a sense of deadline. Deadlines create a flow of adrenaline. Adrenaline medicates and overwhelms the censor. Writers procrastinate so that when they finally get to writing that can get past the censor. Writers procrastinate because they do not feel inspired. Feeling inspired is a luxury. Writing, often excellent writing, can be done without the benefit of feeling inspired. Writers procrastinate because it keeps them stuck on one project and allows them to fantasize about the rest, about what they will write when they have time. This keeps the risk low. A writer doesn’t have to write anything until what he’s currently writing is over with so if that can just drag on a little longer, everyone can stay nice and safe.
I feel this applies in many different areas in life we may be procrastinating in, not just writing.
Can I get a “Whoop! Whoop!” from those of you that find yourself still battling that censor?!
(“Whoop! Whoop!” in the comments below)
Perhaps we need not battle with it. The censor is like a demanding child. If we acknowledge its thoughts and feelings as having been heard and go on to prove it wrong, chances are it will soon learn to see things in another way. A sort of “How to Retrain your Censor”, now there’s an idea…
Cameron goes on to list some of the ways we can break through the fantasy land of procrastinating:
Write daily, even if only Morning Pages
Use tools like “Media Deprivation” and “Blasting Through Blocks” (which is listing quickly all fears and resentment about a project/task at hand) to get a jump start
Watch phone consumption
Watch note-making production
Set a clock for 30 minutes writing time. Pray for the willingness to write and then write
Again, all these helpful points can be applied to other things we’re procrastinating about.
If you’re wondering what Morning Pages are, it’s vomiting three pages worth of whatever words shoot out of your head through your pen as fast as possible. Unedited, of course. I can highly recommend it for its cathartic effects alone and you might even find some great material amongst all the mess.
Let me know what you think (along with your “Whoop! Whoop!”)…