I sometimes give students a “how-to” assignment in which they get to write an essay teaching me (and the rest of the class) how to do something they are really good at. It’s surprising how many students write about procrastination. It’s surprising and funny. Ironic! I seriously doubt anyone can teach me anything about procrastination. I am a master-level procrastinator.
One way to procrastinate on getting writing done is to drop everything and read about procrastination. I recommend Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. He has an entire section on “Resistance,” which is procrastination by another name, and he says cheeky things like this:
“Creating soap opera in our lives is a symptom of Resistance. Why put in years of work designing a new software interface when you can get just as much attention by bringing home a boyfriend with a prison record?”
Another source I am happy to recommend is Roy Peter Clark’s chapter, “Turn Procrastination into Rehearsal,” from Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer.
And where am I on my project? Despite messing around with the blog for quite-a-long-time yesterday, I hit the 5,000 word mark in typing up the various scraps from my notebooks. I wrote 7 new pages, longhand, in a new notebook. And (perhaps most important) I had dinner with my friend Janet, who over the last few days reread the manuscript of Acts 1 and 2, and told me, as pleasantly as possible, that I must stop messing with what’s working.