Monday, January 13, 2014

Battling the Demon: Procrastination

Lately, I find myself struggling … Again! Struggling to focus, to settle down and write. Struggling to not let myself be distracted. I’m trying a few different techniques and tools to-do lists, setting reminders in my calendar, devouring advice offered up by various goal-setting websites. Nothing, in combination, seems to be working, at least not in the way that I hoped they would.

When I sit down to write, I’m overwhelmed by all of the things that I have to do and haven’t done. Instead of adding a new task to my to-do list, I undertake it immediately. I know that that’s counter-productive, that that doesn’t serve my writing. Is it any wonder then that, at the end of the day, I’m disappointed with my lack of progress? Not really. But I try to look on the positive side. I may have written 500 words instead of the 1,000 I had set as my goal. I may have made it halfway through the rewrite of a chapter instead of the whole chapter. That is progress.

What I haven’t quite figured out is why I’m so restless lately, why I’m so easily distracted. There are a lot of good things going on in my life at the moment. I have a good job that I, finally, enjoy. I’m in a loving and committed relationship. I’m surrounded by loving friends who are supportive of my artistic endeavours friends who stand by me when everything I touch turns to gold and during the long seasons of drought. I have my health. And each day, no matter where I am, I do manage to write (Morning Pages, gratitude lists, snippets of conversation that become the fodder for a short story, etc.).

Despite the restlessness, the lack of focus the sense of uncertainty about the way forward I’m not letting those things bring me down. My daily gratitude lists remind me about the beautiful treasures that life offers to me. I can see daily how much I am blessed.

So I take up the challenge to wade through this restlessness, to show up stubbornly at the page daily and write. Be it a word, a sentence, a paragraph, I will write. That way I will see a body of work take shape. I will feel better about myself and my writing that I continue to heed the call of what I feel compelled to do. And in that action resides the hope that, one day, I will slay this demon.

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