Friday, May 14, 2010

Excuses, excuses...

By Kim

Growing up I was not a procrastinator. I was that kid who did her homework on Friday night, if I had not already completed it in study hall. In junior high I had a teacher who realized the English curriculum was a waste of my time and allowed me to pick my own books, make up my own writing assignments, and skip diagramming sentences. I would have an A so long as I challenged myself. I consistently earned an A+.

No, I was not every parents’ dream child (just ask Mom and Dad). I was simply self-motivated.

Fast forward twenty years. I had one thing I have to get done today – to write this blog – and yet here it is, two hours before I have to pick up my kids, and it is only now that I have parked my butt in my chair to start. I wish I could say this was an unusual occurrence. It’s not. I wish I could say that I had an excuse. I don’t.

As a stay-at-home mom and writer, I have my dream job. Yet each day motivation takes effort. Here are my top excuses not to write:

1) Answering e-mail related to my book. Yes, there is a lot of it. Last week I arranged to share information about Carl Ahrens with the National Gallery of Canada. This week I am helping an appraiser price some etchings and putting him in touch with potential buyers.

2) Updating my website or my catalog of known work by Ahrens.

3) Two small children who need me.

4) Laundry, errands, chauffeuring kids around for lessons, play dates, etc.

5) I ignore this last one as long as possible, but the reality is that on any given day it looks like a hurricane hit my house. When the muses aren’t speaking to me, I clean.

After talking to my fellow What Women Write contributors, I discovered there’s a lot of procrastinating going on. Here is what is most likely to keep them from writing.

Joan:

1) reading industry blogs

2) reading a novel I just can’t put down

3) watching a movie (for research)

4) updating my Netflix queue

5) responding to e-mail

Pamela:

1) Work: a worthwhile venture that eats up a lot of time. It is writing, though, so I consider it a warm-up exercise--a warm up that lasts all day some times.

2) The Internet

3) E-mail

4) That niggling internal voice that says I’m not that good and am, therefore, wasting my time

Elizabeth:

1) The grocery store – the family has to eat!

2) The dog needs walking. Poor puppy. It’s not his fault I haven’t written anything.

3) I’m hungry--10:30 is not too early for lunch

4) Yoga

5) Miss Manners message boards (for character research). Don’t believe me? Check out AnythingICanJustifyAsResearch.com.

6) The laundry

7) E-mail

8) Did I mention I’m hungry?

Susan:

1) Time management – work/family/kids/pets/writing

2) The old “I got nothin’” syndrome

3) Fear of failure (I’m not good enough to even try some days)

4) Lazy distractions – e-mail, Internet, blogging

5) Not making writing enough of a priority

Julie:

1) Computer problems. Prime example, this week – I’ve spent more time fixing things than writing because my computer is dying a slow death.

2) Spending time worrying about how I am not Supermom and how I don’t do all the millions of things other moms I know do when I could go ahead and use that time to write, which is why I choose not to be Supermom to begin with. It’s a vicious cycle.

3) Trying to read all the blog posts I’ve faithfully RSS'd to my inbox because I’m sure the world will end if I don’t.

4) Travel planning. I love to travel and could, and sometimes do, spend every spare moment exploring destinations and planning future journeys, whether I’m actually going or not.

5) My own writing. Worrying about it – whether it’s good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough – when I could simply be doing it and ignoring all the other girls. Wait, am I talking about writing or high school? J


So, how about you? What are your top reasons (excuses) for not getting any writing done today?

11 comments:

  1. Oh yeesh. I have soooo many. I'm a champion procrastinator! Usually I do so by surfing the web (twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums...) although sometimes I can justify it (research, dang it!). I also sometimes procrastinate writing with other writing. Weird, I know. But things I need to write usually only motivate me to work on other writing projects.

    ~Lia

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  2. Lia - you could always justify it by saying that you WERE writing by commenting on this post!

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  3. Cynthia Stuart14 May, 2010

    These things keep me from practicing piano or keyboard.


    #1 If I walk around the house I see a million things to do.

    #2 I start thinking about dinners for the week and I'm off to look at recipes or shopping.

    #3 I want to hear a piece that I'm working on via u-tube and I just keep clicking other links. Of course that leads me to more e-mail and then on to facebook...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have a long list of what's stopped me from writing today.

    1) This, right here. Way too much blog-reading.
    2) Defragging hard drive (why does this take over an hour?)
    3) Turning off the computer due to massive thunderstorm -- I'm terrified my harddrive will get fried and then no writing at all!
    4) Cleaning spare room for friend's possible overnight stay since flooding is stopping her from getting home.

    I could mention too many games of on-line Scrabble (played at lower level so that I can feel smug about beating the computer) but I'd be embarrassed to admit it.

    Glad to hear I'm not alone!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cynthia - I sympathize with #1. Happens to me a lot with Hurricanes Sasha and Ashlyn and tropical storm Max in the house.

    Jenna - I think that storm is coming this way right now. The sky is a very scary color!

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  6. Anonymous14 May, 2010

    I have always procrastinated. My excuse is that I perform better under pressure, but truth be told, extra pressure equals mounting anxiety and lower frustration tolerance. There is a certain buzz I get when I pull something off last minute.

    I think of all people, I have the least amount of justifiable excuses.

    K. Nunez

    Katrina Nunez

    ReplyDelete
  7. Reasons? Too numerous some days.

    1) My dog and the fact I run a stray animal rescue and may be needed at any given moment.

    2) Fear of failure. Which makes no sense, I do believe I'm good enough - just worry if anyone else may.

    3) This one, is kind of fill in the ____ blank. There always seems to be something.

    And doing this excercise, helps me see how faulty those excuses really are when it comes to my writing. Thanks! (Hugs)Indigo

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  8. INDIGO - I'll have to remember # 2. I, too, believe I'm good enough, but it is a lot harder to convince agents and publishers of that now than it was 10 years ago. Too bad I really was not good enough back then!

    KATRINA - I got that buzz a lot while I was teaching at Iowa State. Since I was also a grad student and had 1000 pages of reading a week to do, I had little time to "plan" classes. I winged it most of the time and was floored when my evaluations at the end of the semester indicated that my students all thought I was "very prepared."

    ReplyDelete
  9. Always so much to do!
    I homeschool my 2 children, sometimes I write in a sea of noise.
    Other times,I'm awake half the night.
    We get there eventually!

    ReplyDelete
  10. ellenonthego -

    My life is a sea of noise. I feel your pain. My 'office' is really in the center of the living room. I wrote one of the most romantic scenes in my book to the theme song of The Backyardigans.

    I don't homeschool. I give you credit for getting anything at all done...

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