Fighting my strongest procrastination enemy
At least this page isn’t blank anymore. I have spent the last few months since I joined Medium reading articles by talented writers about finding the courage to post that first essay, poem, photo, or some other form of originality. Pushing that first fledgling out of the nest of ideas living in our brains takes courage. Some of us are better at pushing than others.
Let’s face it. Many of us don’t know if we’re producing anything that the rest of you want to read. Something happens between the time our brilliant ideas leave our brains, get cycled through our keyboards, and finally arrive in what used to be called print.
My brain’s favorite trick to keep me safely away from trying anything new (especially if I might fail at it) is to make me talk. Talk to family members and friends, talk on the phone, talk to cashiers in stores ringing up my groceries, talk even more than usual to my four cats, and talk to myself, of course. I have told so many people about Medium in the last few months that those people probably thought I was being paid to do so. Unfortunately, no. I wasn’t being paid by anyone to do anything. The possibility of future income of any size from writing on Medium is one of its attractions.
I was avoiding what I really want to do. I have missed writing. I wrote in the past as a hobby, even as a paid hobby at times. But I was younger then and thought I knew more than I feel I know now. (Another story, a future Medium article maybe.)
Many Medium writers have written about their battles with procrastination, but not any that I’ve found so far have blamed their inaction on being blabbermouths. Is that because no one else talks all the time? Or is it because none of the rest of you wants to confess?
It does seem silly, I agree. But one of my more deeply implanted habits is talking instead of doing. The advantage of this is that it frequently looks like I AM accomplishing something. You know, like a wound-up salesperson or a toothy-grinned PR person on the job.
When I’m nervous about having to speak in a public setting or especially when I know I am eventually going to attempt some new skill that I may publicly fail at, I talk.
But now I’m talked out. And I have a confession. Sometime in the past I realized that my subconscious mind churns away during my talking sprees, importing images from my imagination, organizing my thoughts, and getting ready to settle down to actual work. The process has done its job. I’m ready, whether anyone likes my work or not.
On Medium, you will see only the after-effects of my bouts of talking. And you won’t have to hear (sic) me drone on about it again, so to speak(sic).
I can’t finish this without thanking at least a few of Medium’s army of talented writers whose expertise kept me from quitting before I even started. Shaunta Grimes’ articles on all phases of writing, from blogging to business plans for writers, always help. Ayodeji Awosika exhorts consistent motivation. Especially helpful for my shortcomings is Zulie Rane, who not only extols good writing but also provides how-to-start videos.
If you can relate to my process, let me know at email@example.com.