Sometimes I think it’s amazing that we are able to do anything, much less write a story, novel, poem or article. The process of fixing on a goal and making it happen is not as simple one might think. This is especially true about goals that we are ambivalent about, like ” I will write for an hour this morning.”
When I witness my own process of intending, hesitating, considering, postponing, self-reproach, rationalizing, moving toward, moving away, seeking distractions, and then hopefully finally sitting down to write; I feel fortunate if I am actually able to do it amidst all the conflicting mental and emotional pushes and pulls.
All it takes is one convincing distractor thought like, “Instead of writing in my scheduled time this morning, I really should take a long, hot, bubble bath to get myself in the right mood…” and all is lost. Somewhere inside you know this is a mistake, but if this wisdom is overridden by the urge to avoid for just long enough, you fall out of the saddle.
The procrastination issue with writers resembles the addiction recovery process. The recovered addict knows that using the drug will be predictably bad for his or her life, but in any particular moment, the inner hunger to use again might assert itself in wily ways that undermine the commitment to stay sober.
It’s humbling to realize and accept that your mind is not in your full control. This is especially true when you take on a challenging task like writing a book. Your resistances and fears get activated and you have to manage the contrary impulses, day after day. To succeed it helps to set your writing life up in a way that best supports the enterprise, and stay with it as best you can, one day at a time.