Procrastination, the lifelong friend and foe of writers, has been around for as long as the sun has risen and set. In this two-part series we will be exploring why writers procrastinate and how to overcome this obstacle. So without waiting any longer let’s begin…
Part One: The Why
As writers we always tell ourselves that we are going to sit down and write. That we are going to do it tonight, well maybe not tonight it’s my mom’s birthday, tomorrow I’ll do it tomorrow. Then tomorrow comes and you realize that you have a midterm exam and you have to study. These are just a couple of examples of the excuses writers may tell themselves to get out of writing, when really it may be a much deeper reason than being “busy.” The actual reason is that we, as writers, fear rejection.
We are terrified of being rejected by journals, publishers, our families, even our dogs, and that is perfectly justifiable considering that as a writer you will be rejected at least once – maybe ten times in your career. We as humans want to succeed in life. That value is of course transferred into our writing process. That fear cripples our fingers and freezes us into this Netflix-binge-watching hostage situation which renders our creativity helpless.
We want our work to be beloved by all, to maybe win an award with a pretentious name. We are not trained from childhood to be failures – we want to be success stories. We strive to be the next Stephen King or Robert Frost.
We need to be unafraid of the future and rejection. The logic here is flawed. We’re all thinking, “If I don’t write than I can’t fail.” What we’re missing here is that if you’re not writing you can’t succeed. If we aren’t writing than we will have nothing for the journals and publishers to actually publish. We need to fix this, but how?