Tea, biscuits and self-sabotage: a writer’s reflections on procrastination

Each day I wake up with one intent: to write as much as I can.

In the morning I’ll start off with some journaling and a poem.  I can often find time for a blog post here and there, but my sticking point is stories.  Short stories come easier than longer ones, but the hardest one’s to work on are the stories I hope will become books.

I have one such story on the go at the moment, and my attempts to sabotage are reaching new highs (or lows, depending on how you want to look at it). If I carry on like this, I estimate I’ll have exhausted my rather extensive tea and biscuit supplies in a few days. The bathroom is clean, the beds are changed, I’m finally on top of the washing pile, I even found time to create a feel-good slogan with accompanying stuffed animals in our window (and take a picture of it for your appreciation).

But write that story?  Maybe later. 

I’ve posted poems to my blog and social media, read some blogs, done some research on how to ‘become a writer,’ (whatever that means).  It’s all quite productive really, but I’m also aware that I’m getting pretty creative at finding ways to avoid the only thing that needs to happen in order to write a book: write.

I’m no stranger to self-sabotage.  In the early days of my blog, I could find anything else to do other than sit down and write a post (my dog loved it, she got walked a lot).  I spent a lot of time thinking about what I needed to do, making lists and writing notes, and a lot of time avoiding the actual writing.

And yet…there is light at the end of the tunnel;

In the past I probably wasn’t so clear that I was sabotaging myself, now it’s as plain as day, which gives me the opportunity to do something about it quicker. 

The reasons for my procrastination are still somewhat mysterious.  Probably something to do with fear of the unknown, fear that if I actually do write a book but can’t find a market for it then I’ll be a failed writer, instead of just an aspiring one, and the spectre of a question that haunts all writers everywhere at one time or another: what if I’m just not good enough?

All valid concerns, but I had all of these worries about my rhymes, yet when I read many of them back they bring me joy.  They show me where I was in my life when I wrote them and give me a little bit of insight into my soul, as well as a feeling of connection with the people who have enjoyed reading them.  I think writing a book would be like this but on a much deeper scale.  In that case, what have I got to lose?  If I write it for my own satisfaction, then whether it gets published or not, I will have done it: I will have written a book, and this will no longer be something I will wonder about being able to do.  Writing blog posts and poems are enjoyable and undaunting to me now because I’ve done both so many times:  I know I can do it, so I do.  Perhaps it will be the same with a book.

So, how will I begin?  Well, I’ll begin the way I do everything: slowly.  I will fit it in where I can.  I will notice and overcome the elements of procrastination that are getting in my way (perhaps a padlock on the biscuit cupboard) and I will trust that little by little, the book will come.  What happens next isn’t important right now, because if I start thinking about that then I’ll never begin, and I for one want to know how the story ends.

Creativity itself doesn’t care at all about the results – the only thing it craves is the process. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk, or a mule, or some other representative metaphor for diligence. Love the work. Destiny will do what it wants with you, regardless.

Elizabeth Gilbert

What ingenious ways do you find to procrastinate when there’s something you want to get done?


I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog this week. If you’re new here, you can also follow me on Instagram, or if Facebook is your jam I’ve also recently set up a page for my writing. Any likes, follows or shares on any or all of these platforms will receive my eternal gratitude and send some positive vibes out into the Universe, who doesn’t want that? Thanks for reading.

12 thoughts on “Tea, biscuits and self-sabotage: a writer’s reflections on procrastination

  1. I wake up with the same goal every day too! And I’m also very susceptible to procrastination. Sometimes it’s a win-win, because I procrastinate by doing the house chores, but other times, YouTube wins, and that’s the crappy bit. Anyway, thanks for this post and wishing you all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t looked at getting the chores done as a win-win, so that’s a positive outlook I’ll be taking on board, thanks!

      How about we look at YouTube as research for your next piece of writing?

      All the best to you too 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Getting started is difficult and the distractions are many. It sounds like you are well-aware of your propensity to self-sabotage and are working on it. Small steps are moving forward.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so right Margaret, being aware has been a bit of a game changer, it can be one step forward and two steps back but just knowing when I’m procrastinating (and looking at why) is helping get on the right track.

      Thanks for your comment 😊

      Like

  3. I am a good procrastinator. I don’t want to brag but I can put off doing things for a long time. My ways include: hours of research on a topic; hours of investigation about how to research said topic properly; hours of thinking about how to parse the topic I want to research; hours playing a word game on my phone whilst I prepare to think about starting my writing project. It’s a gift, really– to be able to not do what I’m supposed to be doing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Research is a sticky one isn’t it? Because you feel like you’re doing something productive but still ‘the thing’ does not get done!

      I love your last line, it’s a gift indeed, a procrastination master 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have the highest degree possible in procrastination. Why doesn’t the joy of getting a job done outweigh the inability to start it ? Just write the book for yourself with no goal of getting it published. Maybe that will free up your creative flow because nobody will be able to judge it except you, by which time you’ll realise that it’s worthy of being published. Just start with one paragraph and see what happens xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I guess it’s a common trait among writers haha! As for me, I often get ideas for a new blog post at the most inopportune times. But unfortunately, I also procrastinate and set that aside so that I can return to it later.

    Problem is, the idea isn’t there anymore when I sit down in front of my laptop. 😦

    (Thank you for following The Monching’s Guide, by the way! Couldn’t comment on your About page, so I’ll just leave it here if you don’t mind.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so right! Sometimes I find lines for a post running through my head & if I can’t stop every the right then & write them down ten they’re gone, like they never even existed (I think some of my best writing has disappeared into the ether after I failed to catch it in time but that could just be wishful thinking 😂)

      You’re more than welcome, it’s nice to virtually meet you and thank you for the follow too 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. While reading your words I felt like I had written them myself. My weekends are my dedicated writing time or so I’ve tricked myself into believing. Saturday morning comes and I do everything else but write, even if only for an hour. It is however with great joy that I did create a few journal prompts today I can be proud of. Yet there is still tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha this definitely rings many bells! I wonder if there’s a way to trick our brains…perhaps if we make dedicated odd job time we’ll avoid the odd jobs with writing instead 😂

      I love the feeling though when you do get something down and it flows out, you can definitely be proud of your journal prompts & you’re right, tomorrow is another day 😊

      Like

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