Procrastination and Creation


So, I was stuck.

The last chapter of my book needed to get written, and I hadn’t worked on it for over a month and a half. Whenever I thought about sitting down to write, I got a mild sort of panic in the back of my brain. I had a silent urge to do anything but sitting down and writing that darn chapter. “Something isn’t right,” sung out in my mind like a chorus of beautiful yet terrifying songbirds, all chirping out in wonderful, harmonious alarm.

So, what was my problem?

There were a few possibilities, so let me break down how I got through it.

The first possibility was that there was something fundamentally broken about my story. If this was the case, then I was I putting off facing and or/fixing it.

The second possibility was that I didn’t have a clear picture of how the story was going and needed to figure that out before I could continue.

The third was that I was feeling pressured to go in a particular direction with the story. That would mean that my procrastination was my passive-aggressive way of resisting that.

Then again, it could have been that I simply didn’t want the story to end; after all, if I didn’t write it, it would never end.

Or, perhaps, I simply didn’t want to write any more?

There’s the list. That was my reasoning. So, which one was it? And how did I push through to the end?

Well…I wrote about it.

I wrote it all down, and this article has been born of me discovering that letter. I’ll include it here, so you can see how I reason through my emotional turmoil. 

Enjoy

So, I’ve made the list. Now all I have to do is figure out which one it is? Right? That’s all I have to do, isn’t it, Sophie? Stop putting it off and focus. You can only argue with yourself for so long. FOCUS, woman!

OK, right, let’s break it down one at a time. Right.

Number one: It probably isn’t true. Why’s that? Well, I take care when writing my stories and am a bit of a stickler for internal consistency. So I highly doubt it’s that broken. I’d have seen the cracks before now.

Let’s move on. 

Two…might be true…to a certain point. I mean, I definitely know where it’s heading, and I know most of the things that need to happen, but I have introduced a new character, and that has thrown me quite a bit. I didn’t expect that to happen, BUT that doesn’t, however, change the fundamentals of the story. So, let’s move on and come back to this if I need to.Three…Yeah, I think this is actually the main reason and my mind was trying to trick me into thinking that number two was the problem. When I let myself actually think about it, three’s the one screaming at me.

So, what should I do about it? How do I solve it? Well, first, you know that it IS solvable. All you need to do is go, “OK, I don’t have to do what other people tell me. It’s my story, and these aren’t professionals giving me their opinion; they are just friends and ‘helpful’ strangers. They aren’t the ones writing this story; I am. It belongs to me.”

You know you tell everyone else to do this almost daily, so you have to apply the rule to yourself as well, otherwise you’re a hypocrite. And you know you aren’t ever gonna let yourself become one of those. So get over it. You expect other people to do it; it’s time to practice what you preach. I know you like hearing different opinions and have a tendency to hoard them like a little idea squirrel, but you don’t have to do them all right now. They’ll all be useful at some point…just, remember that they aren’t going anywhere. Ideas don’t have an expiry date. It’s all OK.

OK, let’s look at the last two together, because they are so similar. Well…I honestly don’t think that they’re my problem. The book is part one of two, maybe even three, so it’s going to go on for a while and I definitely still want to write!

There you have it

That’s how I did it. That’s how I reasoned through my problem. Writing it out can help you see things that you never knew were there to begin with, and it’s one of the fastest ways I’ve found of sorting through the crazy. I’d fallen back into old, bad, habits of passive resistance and the mild worry I’d felt about adding a new character caused me to freeze up completely. The character was needed – very much so – and has turned into quite the pivotal plot-defining point. Change can be scary, but if you let it settle, and sit for a while, the age-old adage of, “When you have writer’s block, write about it!” will prove to be true again, and again. Don’t fear uncertainty, look it in the eye and write about what you see!

Sophie, signing out.

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