Of course, the no. 1 procrastinatory exercise is to do what I’m doing atm with this blog: telling myself (and you lot in the process) how I’m doing and what I’m doing and how it’s all worthwhile and relevant – instead of Just Working On My Thesis. One of the things I keep telling myself when procrastinating is that “everything needs to be done”. For instance, I spent many hours yesterday and today organizing folders, deleting old files, and sorting out muddled spreadsheets. All of it was worthy work; almost none of it was absolutely urgent. But this is a development towards the better – it is better to procrastinate by working on something else* than by, say, playing computer games or losing yourself in tvtropes.
So: “gazebos”? That was from this blog, talking about procrastination (and saying true things). Time spent not writing is time spent Not Writing. But an even better read, and quite sympathetic overall, was this lengthy entry on procrastination on You Are Not So Smart. We procrastinate† because we are human. In order to combat this time wasting, you need to be determined and think ahead. Self-control is vital.
Today wasn’t much better than most of this week. But in the evening I got to writing (woo!), and so have something to show for a change, which is nice. It’s mostly rubbish, but at least the words are coming. I can get work done once I get in the flow, but it’s getting in the flow which is the hard bit. I’m hoping – I’m praying, to be honest – that once I get momentum I will find it easier to hop on and off the writing ship on a daily basis. I’ve been on mad writing sprees in the past, but I need to uphold this one for about 7 months, so I can’t really afford to lose myself in it completely, only for say 10 hours a day.
How do I do this? I wish I knew. I’ll have to find out.‡
* This reminds me of Neil’s advice on dealing with writer’s block – just write something else for a while.. Perhaps it’s also a matter of what needs doing – as a PhD student, NOTHING ELSE needs doing but my thesis, but for other positions, there may be more room to move back and forth between tasks.
† I should remind you, dear reader, that the present author does not think that true procrastination includes slacking off and wasting time, but only enterprises categorisable as “work” in their own right. They’re just not the thing You Should Be Doing.
‡ And this reminds me of another writerly truth: you never learn to write a novel, you only learn to write the novel you’re writing…