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THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW: True Confessions of a Procrastinator

You know that feeling. You're bursting with wonderful ideas when there's nothing you can do about it. At work, in the car, at the grocery store, in the shower. But when you do get in front of the desk/drawing board, all you want to do is play a game of solitaire.

We've all been there, friend. Me, most of all.

What turns normal, law-abiding citizens to the dark side of procrastination? When the time to work comes, I'm a master at rationalizing why I can't/don't have to/don't want to work.

I really do have good intentions. I purchased a book on organization for creative people a few years ago. It's buried in one of these piles here somewhere… I take classes, hoping that will guilt me into getting work done on time (or at all). I just end up getting more stressed and more behind. I need help

. Listen to the Voice Within
My conscience knows exactly what we should be doing; I should just listen to her. But she's so smug and bossy.

I suppose if I only do something when I feel like it, it's a hobby, not a career. Is something trying to tell me that I'm on the wrong track? Maybe I should try to look at my work in a different light or go in a different direction. Ditch-digger? Ice sculptor? Cross-walk attendant? Maybe all I have to do is work harder and smarter.

Time and Place
Scatterbrained and easily distracted, I'm the kind of person who can't even carry on a coherent conversation while the TV is on. I'm kidding myself if I think I can “create” in a chaotic environment.

Maybe I could carve out a couple of hours a day of quiet time; after everyone has gone to bed or first thing in the morning. I've heard that success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. I do so hate to sweat, though.

E-Mail, Schme-Mail
Okay, it's 10:00 pm. The family's in bed and I'm sitting at my computer. I've got my inspirational music and a 6-pack of Diet Coke. I'll just check my e-mail, then get to work.

Two hours later, I'm still trying to wade through the hundreds of messages from the five children's book-related groups to which I belong.


I guess this information will still be out there when I'm ready.



One (or Two) at a Time
Fine, e-mail's under control. Time to get to work. So, I've got a new idea for this story--and wait! I'm going to finish this chapter over here--but first I need to start the sketches for that dummy—and organize this paperwork, then work on the cover for this picture book… Geez, I'm tired. I think I'll take a nap.

Fine, I'll concentrate on one main project and set realistic milestones. I'll still log stray ideas that pop up, but I'll do my best to return to the project at hand.

Fear Factor
Okay, I picked one project to complete. It's been sitting there for months; I've been avoiding it like a poisonous creature with dripping fangs. I read through it again and have a distinct urge to run off and join the circus. I suppose it's mostly about fear. I don't know about you, but I have a major fear of failure. I also get discouraged easily; if something doesn't work right away, I want to quit.

Crud Is My Friend
From now on, the first draft of anything is strictly for my eyes only. I won't even show it to my cat. I am free to produce the worst writing/drawing known to humankind. I am one with my cruddiness and I'll try not to get discouraged or stressed. Buried in the dross are nuggets of something shiny. Sure they need to be plucked out and polished up, but I can't do that if I'm afraid the make the crud in the first place.

Hey, what have I got to lose? A few hundred games of Solitaire? One more re-run of Law and Order? Better yet, think of all I have to gain: the warm fuzzies knowing that I worked hard and made something special, the confidence to hold my head up high and be an equal with my illustrious writer/artist friends, and just think of all the money I'll save not buying cases of antacids.

So now you know all my dirty little secrets in my battles with disorganization, apathy, lack of focus and fear. I suppose it's a good thing I have a conscience around to keep me on the straight and narrow.

Can I take her advice? Hey, I finally finished this article; that's a start…


“Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment” – Robert Benchley