If you’re like me, you don’t have uninterrupted time for writing.
Maybe you work full time in a demanding job or work two demanding part-time jobs or you take care of your children.
And when you get to the point when you do have time to write, you’re exhausted. Just brain dead.
And that, of course, is the problem. Waiting until we think we have time to write.
I work with writers from all over the world, and whether the client is in Germany or Norway or Seattle, Washington, a common problem for all, myself included, is that we procrastinate.
I can’t count the times that dissertation clients and other writers have told me that they do their best writing first thing in the morning. And I can’t tell you how many times clients have told me how they let early morning time get away from them.
Let me tell you about two people for whom writing is an important part of their jobs.
Both people procrastinate—neither is perfect.
Both have others depending on them. Their writing matters.
One person, whom I’ll call Tom, procrastinates until it hurts—hurts him and hurts those around him.
He lets the writing back up until at times he hides out and avoids others. Or other times, he will become very engrossed in a new project, in which writing plays a smaller role. The new project is always important and interesting. But when the writing does not get done, there are major repercussions for himself and those around him.
The second person, whom I’ll call Tom, too, or Tom 2, is clearly anxious about the writing he needs to do. Like Tom the first, Tom 2 is a good writer, but he also lets the writing stack up. He has many responsibilities in his job and at home. But somewhere along the way, Tom 2 learned to prioritize. He learned to do the most urgent and important work early on, maybe not first, because he, too (he is Tom 2, you know), procrastinates. But not only is he well aware that he is procrastinating, but he also feels deeply that others matter. If he’s holding up other people, it’s obvious how bad he feels. He often apologizes
But he doesn’t walk away from the work entirely.
You can almost see him getting up the courage and motivation (my grandmother would say he was “getting up steam”) to jump in.
He often goes to quiet places during the days he’s not required to be at work in order to make the needed commitment to the writing and to make a stab at the work
I think Tom 2 has little by little trained himself to be productive and to write even when it makes him anxious. Being aware of his priorities gives him strength and helps him focus. He gives himself a little slack, and then he makes a right turn directly into the messy storm of writing.
I learn a lot by watching other writers. Writing matters and others matter.
If you learn from observing other writers (and from your own experiences), I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time!
Your International Dissertation Coach
nancy @ nancywhichard.com