Monday, September 10, 2012

Procrastinating Perfectionism

If there were a Procrastinators Anonymous, I would so join. Tomorrow. Or maybe the next day.

I am especially guilty of procrastinating not only unpleasant tasks, but also tasks which could be highly rewarding but which carry with them the possibility of failure (or success), and so it's easier to put them off than to deal with that.

Like writing. Writing is a luxury. It really is. Instead of having to work at a fast food restaurant to make money to pay rent, or even at a higher level position in which I could gain acclaim and make a decent living, I get to write. It's a total luxury. Sometimes that makes me feel guilty. Heck, OFTEN that makes me feel guilty. I'm not even a published writer and don't have deadlines to which I have to work, so I feel even MORE guilty that, for right now at least, this is a fun hobby. My husband is at work right now, probably doing stuff he doesn't necessarily enjoy so that he can support us, and I'm home taking care of a million things, but not making us any money.

Therefore I often feel as if the things that contribute most to the household, or the kids, or my kids' school, ought to come first. It's hard to put myself first. Last year I failed miserably in keeping up with working out, partly because it was always easy to cut that out, figuring other things were more important (and frankly, I don't enjoy sweating. Honest enough for you?). I also failed at writing, managing to find many other things to fill up my days than work on the novel I've started.

Even saying I've started a novel feels so pretentious!

But I have. I have started a book. And even if no one else likes it - heck, even if no one else ever READS it - I want to finish it. To prove I can. To challenge that rather loud voice in my head that keeps screaming, "YOU can't be an AUTHOR! You've never even taken writing classes! You weren't an English major! You don't work as a freelancer or anything! Who are YOU to think you could succeed in that? Only real GROWN-UPs higher/better than YOU do that!"

What can I say? It's a nasty voice.

This fall I promised myself I would put myself first in terms of a) working out, and b) writing. The former is going fairly well - missed two days last week, but have gone more days than not, so that's definitely progress. The writing? I keep SAYING I'm going to do it, and then... I don't. I even told myself at the beginning of the year even if it's "only a blog post" I was going to write. And yet have daily missives from me arrived here? Am I that much farther in my book? No.

What gives, Anne?

In all honesty, I DO have a lot of other things to do and responsibilities to take care of. There have been medical appointments and vet visits and grocery shopping for this new wheat-free/casein-free/egg-free diet we've suddenly adopted. There have been errands to run, dishes to do, school needs to fill. That's all true. I have a lot to do and may have even bitten off more than I can chew with some of the things I've taken on.

Still, no excuses. It is SO HARD for me to not feel like a failure if I "mess up" on whatever I've planned for myself. So even though I made an "easier" schedule for myself this fall, the fact that I didn't work out two days last week and haven't written a thing beyond slightly amusing Facebook status updates has me kicking myself and letting that nasty voice above run on repeat.

But guess what, Stinky Voice Monster? I just wrote a blog post. Sure, it's completely been stream-of-conscious spewing with little organization or editing, but I wrote it. So there.

Progress, not perfection. Progress, NOT procrastination. Procrastination is just perfectionism in sheep's clothing.


1 comment:

  1. I have a couple things to say...first, I think that we should start a procrastinator's anonymous semester, once we have really gotten into the swing of things with the kids schedules...

    Second, I am so proud of you! You did it!

    Third, you don't have to be an English major, or have taken writing classes to be an author...heck I think some books have proven that you don't even have to be literate! All you have to have is a desire to share a story! You have that desire, have a talent with the written word to boot!

    Rock on, dear friend!