What is it with writers and procrastination? We write because we enjoy it, or so I’m told by other authors. We’ve got stories to tell and characters to kill and romances to blossom. So why do so many of us put it off until we have a deadline looming like a giant thunder cloud?
We’re all masochists? We work better under pressure? We’re afraid to complete a project because then we’ll have nothing to do (which is never really the case, for me anyhow)?
It could be hundreds of reasons. I wonder, for myself that is, if it’s got to do with the whole suffering artist bit. Sure I started that novel months ago, but in the last two weeks I’ve slaved over it, up to all hours, working to get it done by the deadline. Surely that qualifies as suffering, no? Besides, it’s a better bragging point to say I wrote a novel in a couple of weeks rather than a couple of months. I need those “wow” comments to stroke my deflated ego.
Personally, I do work best under pressure. Knowing there’s a deadline helps me to focus on what I’m doing. When things are open ended I can find a bunch of other projects or tasks to take up my time, knowing there’s no hurry to get to the writing. Probably a bad way to look at things, but I’ve always been that way.
Maybe I secretly enjoy the extra stress it gives me to push hard at the end. Maybe I like the white hair it gives me (no, I don’t). Maybe it makes me feel more accomplished once it’s done. I just don’t know.
What are your favorite procrastination techniques and what do you do to regain focus?