I am a life-long procrastinator when it comes to personal projects. (Work for anyone else- I’m a mule!) It’s something I am really trying to tackle in 2019. I had an epiphany about it this morning and realized I have been going about it all wrong.
I have been trying to overcome procrastination by becoming more efficient. I have been studying how to establish good habits. I have been watching endless videos on effective morning, evening and writing routines. I have been trying to establish these good habits and efficient routines, only to get derailed by life events and end up feeling like a failure.
Oddly enough, it was my new favorite hobby that led to this epiphany that changed everything. I started learning how to crochet last April and I LOVE it! It’s one of my favorite things to do. Although, I realized that when I crocheted for a long time, as much I enjoy it, there was still something amiss. There was a little nagging voice in the back of my head saying, “you know, you haven’t written anything in a really long time!”
It was then that it occurred to me that there are things you need to do like eat, sleep and maintain good hygiene, things you love to do like crochet and then there are things you are meant to do- and for me- this is writing. The things we are meant to do, often, seem to be what we resist the most to our own detriment.
The truth is when I don’t write anything at all, I don’t feel quite well. Life is literally draining out of me. I realize that sounds dramatic but there is probably something in your life that produces the same effect. I enjoy crocheting and it adds a lot to my existence but nothing makes me feel quite as alive and purposeful as having written.
So, why do I avoid it? Why do I procrastinate? Steven Pressfield writes about resistance in the War of Art as if it is a real life bogeyman who quite literally wants to kill us. Whether this is actually the case or not, it’s really the only compelling explanation I have found to demystify the phenomenon of procrastination.
What are you meant to do? What have you been resisting?
From Dr. Rob Gilbert’s Success Hotline:
“The quality of the writing that I do on the days that I don’t feel like it is just as good as the quality of the writing that I do on the days that I do feel like it.” — Professor John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)
Agreed! Great quote, Michael!
Great post Cynthia! I love that book the War of Art, and your reference to it here makes a lot of sense. I draw and paint and have found myself procrastinating a lot last year. Looking back I’m chalking that up to recovering from some personal loses, and maybe recharging my creative fire, along with some reevaluation. Watching other people draw and paint on YouTube was my method of avoidance. This year I’ve produced more work but find myself procrastinating in the sharing and selling of it. THAT I’m sure is based on resistance and fear. Reading your post gave me an epiphany of my own. I realized the healing recharge phase felt normal, and more peaceful than this. This feels more confused and anxious. Time to push on through.
I am glad you found the post helpful, Jodi. I know that feeling well. Thank you for sharing that you are afraid sometimes too. I have seen your paintings. You are a very good artist. People would be surprised to know that you too feel that resistance and fear, knowing how good you are. It just shows that all creative people encounter it. The only escape from it is pushing through. May the muse be with you! 🙂