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.
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
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
4) That niggling internal voice that says I’m not that good and am, therefore, wasting my time
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
5) Miss Manners message boards (for character research). Don’t believe me? Check out AnythingICanJustifyAsResearch.com.
6) The laundry
8) Did I mention I’m hungry?
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
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?