By guest blogger Kenneth Hopkins
So, I’ve been thinking about writing a piece on procrastination. Ironically, I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but I kept putting it off. No, I’m not trying to be funny, or offer some crazy kind of proof, but over time, I have perfected the art – yes the art – of procrastination.
For some people, procrastination is about not wanting to deal with the inevitable. Paying bills, scrubbing the toilet, having those tough conversations, even doing something you love all gets lumped into the same bag and placed on the proverbial shelf for another day. There’s some level of guilt and justification about it, but the action itself is pretty intentional.
My procrastination is guilt-free because I don’t do it intentionally. I have all the right motives. I’m going to do this thing I’m setting aside, I swear, just as soon as I take care of this other thing.
Case in point: the idea for this piece came as I was mowing the lawn. “Ingenious!” I thought, as the creative juices began to flow just under the roar of the mower. I couldn’t wait to finish the lawn, go inside, and get cracking on the piece. (Of course, if I was really, really excited, I’d have just stopped right there and finished the lawn later… it was the backyard – who was gonna see it?)
Right after I finish the dishes… as soon as the kitchen is spotless… Right after I check on the outlet that has been giving me grief…
On and on it went until days had gone by and I hadn’t written the first word. Now, I have to admit that one of the reasons I procrastinate is because I am deathly afraid of what reactions I will get to my writing. Ah, there it is… the elephant in the room has been discovered… While I am confident in my writing when I am actually writing, getting to the point of clicking the first letter feels like I’m a 5 year old about to step into the ring with an undefeated boxer. So I paint it like art, embracing the procrastination as sheer genius. I almost feel proud of all the things I am able to do while running from the part of myself that longs to be the writer I know I already am.
So as I thought about this piece, as well as the novel I have been working on for way too long, I determined that I was not going to be a professional procrastinator anymore. It’s a challenge, because, well, I’m pretty good at it. I figure I better do some planning. Gotta put some time in my schedule for that thing I’ve put in the corner, my “writing self” staring at me, waiting for me to say, “yes, now it’s time to play.”
This is a new beginning for me. I have determined that this novel I have been living with can no longer be a byword – it has to be written, because that is what writers do… It’s what I do. For this, I am planning, scheduling and, more importantly, giving myself the liberty to fail at procrastination. It’s a good thing to fail at.
Kenneth Hopkins fell in love with writing at age 6 when he started creating comic strips. Since then Kenneth has expanded his writing to plays and poetry, and is currently working on his first novel. During the day, Ken spends his time managing a service team, and at other times he is cooking, playing guitar, or encouraging the music and dance endeavors of his children.