I Can't Even...
by Sara "Zarine" Jessop
So this article is due soon. My publisher doesn't exactly give me a deadline. It's more like a disgruntled sigh and disapproving shake of the head as I hand it to him later and later every week. But I need to get it done before my first client on Monday or I won't actually see you on Tuesday. And Wednesdays are already reserved for... well really I have no bloody idea, but I am sure it's reserved for something that clearly I have no interest in. This morning one of my girls has fallen for the latest trend in illnesses, the stomach bug. Now I have two whole hours less time than I previously had planned on. And therein lies the problem with procrastination.
You see, dear reader, it's easy to put stuff on until the last minute time and time again. Especially when no one is really cracking the whip on you. When you are the only one pushing yourself sometimes it can be a bit difficult. It's far too easy to say, “I'll have time tomorrow.” Well, perhaps you won't. Perhaps something unexpected will arise and you won't have time. Or perhaps you will just not wake up tomorrow and then what? You certainly can't get it done now you disease ridden corpse.
Not only had I not given myself enough time to truly write an article this week, but I even procrastinated on what it would be. I whined and complained about it for upwards of a half hour. A half hour, mind you, that I could have been writing. Finally Trent made the absurd suggestion that I write the article concerning the very thing about which I was complaining. As if I could write an entire article about waiting until the last minute and then not having enough time. I needed an real suggestion, but clearly I was not going to get it from Lord Sir Whats-his-face. I was just going to need to sit down and figure it out.
On my way to my writing desk I passed though a quite messy kitchen. Now, I may not be allowed to cook anymore within city limits, but I cannot abide a mess. So I began to clean. This went on for approximately forty five minutes. Another forty five minutes that I could have been writing. So the kitchen was clean, and so was the paper that I had yet to soil with sarcastic quips and witty suggestions to uncouth plebs.
My articles grow rather organically. Basically I just start writing and see where the words take me. Often times I write twenty pages worth of babble that needs to be edited down to about a page and a half. Most of it isn't even pertinent to the topic at hand. It takes me about three hours on a good day to get this done, mostly because I procrastinate even while I am writing. That's right, dear reader, I even procrastinate while doing the thing that I procrastinated about. I'm doing it right now. I am writing a bunch of things that will get edited out when I actually start writing the article I intend to publish, and not this useless prattling.
We all procrastinate. Some of us more than others. Why is this? Why do we do this to ourselves? The fix is so easy. Simply do things earlier. “But Zarine, I just don't have the time...” Yes, yes you do. I also use that excuse, and it's bull. I had plenty of time yesterday to write this, and I didn't. I had plenty of time this morning, and yet I am still not doing it. We intentionally fill our time with other things so that we don't have to do the thing we are supposed to be doing. I have now wasted another hour writing this, and I still have no idea what my actual article is going to be about!
Ooooh, I have an idea! I know what I am going to write about!
So now, dear reader who is procrastinating while reading this, I am out of time. Turns out, I can write an article about procrastinating. I didn't mean to, but here it is. I work better under pressure because I have no choice. I just have to write something. I can't second guess it, or change it, or edit it... It's never ready, it just becomes time to work and that's it. But I really should write it a bit earlier just in case something goes wrong. Or so that it doesn't just turn into some cockamamie fluff piece with no real substance.
Never fear. Next week I will return to my regularly scheduled snark. I'll give lots of thought to what I want to write about and get started right away. Like maybe tomorrow....
See you all next Tuesday.
Zarine is the proprietor and Madam at Alchimia Lupanar, a magic marshal approved practitioner of medicine, and has 35 years of experience in giving her unsolicited opinion.