“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
~ Pablo Picasso
This week, I slapped procrastination in the face with my glove and challenged the scoundrel to pistols at dawn.
The accumulation of insults to injuries had reached critical mass and I finally demanded satisfaction. You know how the Butterfly Effect works? It’s like this:
A straw severely affects the structural integrity of the spine of a camel and a chiropractor is called out to make the necessary structural realignment. Thus, my feud with procrastination is anthropomorphized — and, I want that villain slain!
I was born into a culture that bombarded me from birth with monochronic time system rays, in an attempt to condition me to accept time as a sequential arrangement of small units that move forward and build upon one another in a systematic way — a conditioning that does not interface well with my proclivity to engage in polychronic pursuits.
A monochronic society makes schedules to manage the orderly progression of time. Time is something we create as a resource with a monetary value. We make it, spend it, save it. Time is money.
Wasting time is the handiwork of gremlins and procrastination is the devil you know in the monochronic lands.
It is the shadow self that lurks in the back alleys of the dark side, and those that have talismans to protect themselves from it do not understand the power it has over those of us that stand unprotected.
I will pause here to mention that readers in the pastural polychronic societies — where the value is placed on relationships, rather than the tick-tock of the clock — are perplexed by the monochronic mind.
There, the deficit of our attention’s ordering would not reduce us to second class citizens. But, even there, procrastination may not always be welcome — certainly, if putting things off until later makes life more difficult for the procrastinator.
Two days into the second week of my writing practice for NaNoWriMo, with a semi-regular habit of writing the morning pages and real deadlines for writing, I am forced to confront my strengths and weaknesses as a “real” writer and decide how much I can truly fit on my plate.
By the way, I say “real” writer because a regular practice of writing has now become a part of my identity. Writing is not merely an activity that I indulge in occasionally or avoid completely.
So, I’m realizing that I must confront my procrastination and change my modus operandi — not just admit that I have a problem and shrug it off as inevitable business as usual.
That means prioritizing things, all things, that need to be done each day, and creating schedules. Yes, the dreaded schedule making. Not an easy trick for this old dog to learn to do.
I have always loathed schedules.
With the laissez-faire contempt of a bohemian at the Café des Anarchists, I accepted my way of doing things as a part of my personality that was immune to evolution. No longer. Get that man an attitude adjustment, pronto.
It’s a glib thing to simply say that writers write and the only way to fail is to not write. As true as that is, there are always obstacles that we put in our way that prevent us from accomplishing things, and the first step we must take to clear those obstacles is to identify what they are and decide whether or not we want to remove them enough to do so.
A regular daily practice of stream of consciousness writing is one of the things I’m doing to get into the writing habit, but it can also be a path to self-actualization.
For me, dealing with things that must be done first, before doing other things that are not priorities, is essential if I expect to succeed in accomplishing my writing goals — or any of my goals, to be perfectly honest.
And, the only way I can possibly make this self-guided shift of habitual behavior modification is to make decisions and adjustments in the moment.
As always, you are welcome to join me in this process, though, your obstacles may be different from mine — and tune in next week for a special message from the Department of Letterature (sic) on the Dying Art of Letter Writing.
S.O.S. for Procastinators:
PS. “A year from now you may wish you had started today.” ~ Karen Lamb
More Writer’s Way collected mojo:
Richard La Rosa
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