Writer’s Block Is Just Another Version Of Procrastination

Procrastination is a part of human nature. I think it’s much more natural than working a 130 hour week like Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer claims to have slogged through in her Google days. But for the rest of us mere mortals who don’t have the possibility of a $44 million severance for not doing your job procrastination is a thing.

Are the majority of us just lazy animals outpaced by the alphas?

I mean if we were lazy we’d still be using campfires, quill pens, rotary phones, percolators and stamps, right?

Ultimately I believe we all see the end game. We can imagine and feel the sense of accomplishment even before it’s accomplished. It’s getting there that’s the hard part. That’s the torture. That’s the part we’ll subconsciously look to avoid. And the torture lasts longer. And the end game grows further away.

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I feel it all the time when I write and it’s why I don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe I’m a solid procrastinator, just like most of you.

Writer’s block is an excuse for not doing the “hard part”. Often times a writer knows what the basic beats of the story are. You know the theme you want to write about. You probably even know how the end of the story works. It’s filling in all the gaps that leaves the page blank as you stare at a giant figurative question mark that becomes your focus rather than the task at hand. And then your 21st century, smartphone ADD comes into play leaving the page blank for even longer.

The only thing that blocks writing and imagination is procrastination.

  • Research
  • Development
  • Brainstorming
  • Drafting
  • Outlining

It’s all part of writing.  That’s the process. And I’ll admit the process is annoying sometimes because not everything you write is gold. The first words you write probably won’t make the final cut. In fact for every 100 words you print you’ll probably type 1000. So start writing and mining for those magic 100. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop.

But I don’t know what I want to write!

Write anything! Start typing.  Brainstorm a bunch of ideas about different subjects and start building on it. Guess what? You’re writing! And there’s no block!

No idea’s a bad idea. It just might not be the right idea for what you’ll eventually write and publish at that moment. And afterwards you’ll have a bunch of other ideas to elaborate on so you won’t have to go through that whiny writer’s block phase again.

It’s not just a writing thing either. It’s societal.

Admit it. You’re a procrastinator just like me. Just like the silent majority. You wake up in the morning with all these grand delusions of accomplishment that’ll take place on the hour, every hour of the day. You’re going to whittle down that giant task list that gets longer and longer every day of the things you should, need to, and want to accomplish.

That’s not including the stuff you forget to write down.

And before you know it the sun’s going down, you’re hungry for dinner, and once you get through cleaning up after yourself your task list’s just as long while your body’s saying no.

Where the hell did the day go? Why didn’t I get everything I wanted to get done?

You’re a procrastinator.

But I really wanted to get a lot done today!

You did. You…

  • Texted a bunch of people
  • Checked your email
  • Stalked all your “friends” on Facebook
  • Put another selfie on Instagram
  • and Facebook
  • Checked your email
  • Kept texting
  • Sucked at Candy Crush
  • Retweeted a bunch of funny sayings, memes and “amazing viral pics you won’t believe”
  • Checked your email
  • Kept texting
  • Read about all the mundane crap your favorite celebrities did
  • and the celebrities you hate
  • Got into an argument with some jerk in the comment’s section of your favorite celebrities online gossip article
  • Checked your email
  • Crushed Candy Crush
  • Kept texting
  • And if you had put all of the above on your “to do list” instead of all that other more important stuff you’d be winning

Wow. Where does the time go?

Time goes as far as it always has. And you’re a procrastinator.

It’s not that all the ancillary stuff takes long. But it all adds up. It breaks your focus and becomes your focus at the same time.

And sometimes there’s so much to focus on your brain short circuits. All that’s left is a pile of burnt up cords only a few stiff adult beverages and your unmade bed can rewire!

(Unless a few turns into a lot than the rewiring will bleed into the next day and your task list still won’t have any strikethroughs!)

Of course, 130 hours of working harder than a blood thirsty zombie satisfying their appetite for overweight, out of shape, out of breath prey is no way to go either. You can’t replace one end of the spectrum with the other and expect it to even out in a healthy way.

But the next time you’re wondering where the time goes or want to blame “writer’s block” or any block for that matter on your lack of productivity, ask yourself if your end game is worth the process. And stop using your imagination on procrastination.

 

 

9 thoughts on “Writer’s Block Is Just Another Version Of Procrastination

  1. I wholeheartedly blame you for the previous 4 minutes of procrastination. Thank you for that little diversion. I will go read about rabbits now. Goodbye

    Linnea

    >

    Like

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