Golden Compass

Procrastination’s Contributing Collaborator

Procrastination. We know it too well. Many of us find other things to do instead of the very thing that needs to get done. So why do we do this?

Many contributing factors come to mind, but fear sticks out most. Consider it. When you break down all the various reasons why you procrastinate and push aside the very thing that needs to get done, you find this inkling of fear hiding behind the rubble.

What are you afraid of?

Are you afraid of the unknown? Is it because the end result may not be ‘good enough’? Do you fear rejection or failure? Or do you fear what success may bring if you complete the project that you spent considerable time pouring out your heart and soul?

The most crippling thing to procrastination is fear. It is a primal instinctive part of life; whether we realize it or not, it motivates us and drives some of our decisions. When we procrastinate, we decide to give in to this fear and find something more comfortable to do. But, ultimately, we are just delaying the inevitable.

Why? As a writer, is it crucial to sit on it and consider all of the ramifications before we can even continue? And, if we don’t give it time, are we afraid the project will never amount to the original idea? Or is it because we need time to build up our courage and strength to forge ahead?

My favorite rock star genius just released her album at a time when fear was starting to creep into my writing again. She reminded me that fear goes away the moment you do it scared. Imagine that. It goes away!

I felt beaten up by the comments from the first round of beta readers. Each time I went in to apply some of their suggestions, I felt that fear rise up from the pit of my stomach. I knew it was imperative to get their opinion so that I could make the best possible story for publication. But I feared the feelings I would inevitably feel by revisiting those comments.

I discovered that it was easier to make the necessary adjustments if I broke down their comments into segments. So, early on, I grabbed my highlighters and highlighted in green all comments that made sense to me and required change. Then, I used an orange highlighter for those comments that I may not necessarily agree with, required research, or needed more consideration. And a large pink ‘X’ marked the ones I disagreed with or should never read again. Finally, all positive comments were highlighted in blue so I could revisit the feel-good remarks if I needed a boost in my spirit.

It was a simple little task, but it worked. I still feel the fear that makes me want to procrastinate with this work, but now I have a game plan. And with my favorite rock star’s new album, I have the motivation to do it scared. So I revisited my work plan to see where I am in my timeline, and would you know it? I am right on track. All because I am doing it scared!

When procrastination starts to set in, dig around and find that fear. Identify it and take a good look at your project. You know it has to be done, and you don’t want to do it anymore. So, you gotta do it. Break it down, look fear in the face, and forge ahead.

Do it scared!