Monday, February 24, 2014

Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators

So, as I was ‘writing’ recently.  Yeah, so I was ‘preparing’ to write.  Okay, I guess I was procrastinating.
We call it many things, don’t we?    Research.  Thinking.   Although, sometimes it really is research, and thinking, mulling, story lines and characters.   And it’s all legit and all.   Other times, we know it’s more of avoidance of the blank page.    Never does blankness hold such nervousness, or downright terror, than a writer facing a blank page.  And feeling like you have a blank mind to go with it.   Or is it worse to have an overfull mind teeming with all sorts of things and having difficulty getting them all down on that page in a way that constitutes not just a story, but a good one.   
Since we all want to be good writers, right?

So as I was looking at things to make me a better writer I came across this on writers procrastinating.

Of course I had to read it.  Research, you know.

Forced into a challenge we're not prepared for, we often engage 'self-handicapping': deliberately doing things that set us up for failure.

……..Whether you are more fixed or more of a grower helps determine how you react to anything that tests your intellectual abilities. For growth people, challenges are an opportunity to deepen their talents, but for “fixed” people, they are just a dipstick that measures how high your ability level is. Finding out that you’re not as good as you thought is not an opportunity to improve; it’s a signal that you should maybe look into a less demanding career, like mopping floors………..

In reading the article I found some people I have met and know.
I’ve actually heard someone say they had trouble writing because they felt like an impostor.
I haven’t heard them talk about writing anything in a long time.  Sad really, since they had gotten quite good.

The fear of being unmasked as the incompetent you 'really' are is so common that it actually has a clinical name: impostor syndrome.
This fear of being unmasked as the incompetent you “really” are is so common that it actually has a clinical name: impostor syndrome. A shocking number of successful people (particularly women), believe that they haven’t really earned their spots, and are at risk of being unmasked as frauds at any moment. Many people deliberately seek out easy tests where they can shine, rather than tackling harder material that isn’t as comfortable……

I’ve heard even some very driven seeming authors talk about their procrastination, and after reading this article wonder if this is what applies -
[Bolding / highlighting is mine]

…..“Work finally begins,” says Alain de Botton, “when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly.” For people with an extremely fixed mind-set, that tipping point quite often never happens. They fear nothing so much as finding out that they never had what it takes.  …..

I Really liked this part -  
All the highlight bolding is mine, since I think it is true that we, perhaps, have a whole different view of other writers.  Perhaps a bit of an unrealistic skewed one.   Especially the very published ones that we would like to join the ranks of.
And this is hard to consider when we are in the midst of our own struggles with words and characters and plot lines and all.

…..Students are rarely encouraged to peek at early drafts of those works. All they see is the final product, lovingly polished by both writer and editor to a very high shine. When the teacher asks “What is the author saying here?” no one ever suggests that the answer might be “He didn’t quite know” or “That sentence was part of a key scene in an earlier draft, and he forgot to take it out in revision.”  …..

So this part is very helpful to remember -
Again, bold highlighting is mine.  Because I probably do fall into this.

……“You never see the mistakes, or the struggle,” says Dweck. No wonder students get the idea that being a good writer is defined by not writing bad stuff.
Unfortunately, in your own work, you are confronted with every clunky paragraph, every labored metaphor and unending story that refuses to come to a point. “The reason we struggle with"insecurity,” says Pastor Steven Furtick, “is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”   …….

Boy, does this make sense!    Right?

I won’t say I resemble any of this, but I’ll just say I recognized some people I know.
Maybe some more than others.

You might find some too, so if you want to read the whole thing rather than just the few excerpts here’s the link 

Do you see anyone you know here?

Do you see yourself here?

Let me know and maybe we can help each other.

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