The most insidious form of procrastination for my writing hides in plain sight. “I don’t have time to write.” And yet, I have time to check my email, play a video game, or look at cute cat pictures on the Internet. I think we’ve all slid down this rabbit hole before.
I’m doing my best to fight it, and have started by testing what I can actually get done in a set amount of time. I recently told myself I didn’t have enough time to write because I only had fifteen minutes available. But I made myself get out my laptop anyway and closed off all distractions and wrote. Fingers to the keys, I wrote as hard and fast as I could. The word count was close to 800.
800 words in fifteen minutes. Let me put that another way. I aim for most of my novels to be 80,000 words. That’s 1/100 of a novel in just fifteen minutes. That might not seem like a lot. I’d have to do that a hundred more times to reach my goal, right? But the time is going to pass anyway. I could spend it on a video game (and sometimes I do – we all need to recharge), or I could spend it creating something, getting something out of myself that’s sometimes clawing, sometimes whining, sometimes singing to get out.
When I tell myself, “I don’t have time to write,” I see it for the tactic that it is. What I’m really saying is, “I don’t have as much time to write as I want.” That’s just one of the challenges of a writer’s life. Building skills, practicing, and seeing through my own diversion attempts all help me to become a better writer, a better person, and to live the life I choose.