Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Procrastinator's Handbook

I’m hardly ever a procrastinator. Really I’m not. Living in a house full of them has forced me to be extremely organized. Otherwise the family infrastructure would collapse.

However, since learning that I have three months to plot, write, and submit doll collecting mystery number four, I’ve found myself making excuses for not starting. You’d think I’d be working day and night, but no.

After this weekend, though, I’m ready to stop procrastinating. I’m going to do it now. Rita Emmett gave me the push I needed. She’s the author of a little book with a big message called The Procrastinator’s Handbook. We both had presentations at the Edgerton (Wisconsin) Book Festival at different times, so I had the opportunity to hear her speak and to buy her book.

Here are a few of her words of wisdom and advice:

“The dread of doing a task uses up more time and energy than doing the task itself.”
“The mother of all excuses: I work better under pressure.”
“Obsession with perfection is the downfall of procrastinators.”

I realized that I was using all the get-out-of-starting tactics she lists on page 49. Shuffling papers, surfing the web, playing computer games, doing an excessive amount of preparation instead of doing it, talking on the phone with everybody and anybody.

Reading her book showed me that I’m procrastinating out of fear. I suddenly realized that I’m afraid that the words and ideas won’t come, afraid that I’ll write a really bad book considering the looming deadline, afraid that I can’t do it. This aren't new phobias. I get them every time I write a story.

I know I can finish. I've done it six times. What's one more?

So I’m off to write my story.
Just as soon as I finish her book.

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