Mastering Procrastination

If you haven’t noticed, ol’ Mr. Charlton hasn’t exactly been posting a whole slew recently. Now, I could give you a bunch of excuses as to exactly why I haven’t been writing. You know what? Let’s try out a few excuses. It’s been a really long time since I’ve had to give an excuse, and it couldn’t hurt to flex that muscle. Just in case I ever actually have to start blaming things other than myself, like circumstances, scenarios, the weather, or other people.

  • I’ve been busy. (False. I’ve been getting caught up with season six of Game of Thrones and playing a lot of Fallout 3. )
  • I haven’t been feeling well. (False. I feel like the God/Prince I normally feel like)
  • The dog requires a lot of attention. (False. Pookie is about eighty-four in dog years, all she does is sleep and eat)
  • I’ve been learning new things. (True! Teaching myself some more programming junk, as well as a very specific program that’s used to write called “Scrivener”)

Long story short; I’ve spent a small amount of time learning some new skills, but most of my time in the last two weeks has been games and television. Some of the time, though, has been setting up a profile for the National Novel Writing Month ( Time has been also spent learning Scrivener. I’ve been doing research for this novel I’m going to try and complete in a month. That’s also work, right?

Here’s what’s probably what’s going through your mind right now.

“Why the hell is Mr. Charlton telling us he’s being a lazy dickbag?”

See? I love it when you ask questions. Totally makes me feel like I’m not talking to myself. Here’s the reason. I’m making a point that procrastination sometimes tries to disguise itself as work. While I’m doing research for writing, or learning an incredibly complicated writing program, or getting setup for a writing contest, there’s one thing I’m not doing. Writing. Sure, it feels like I’m doing something, but truthfully there’s no actual work getting done, no words are being written down, no ideas from my mind brain are being chiseled onto the stone sitting on my desk. If I’m doing everything in an attempt writing

I like to write. I find it an enjoyable, and there’s a lot of people who find the hobby enjoyable as well. Musicians are the same way, there’s something incredibly satisfying about taking a song from your head and getting it onto an instrument and have it come alive. At the end of the day, though, whether your writing or making music or sculpting or whatever you’re doing creating stuff, it’s still work.

When I sit down, shit doesn’t just magically appear, I have to work to make it appear. There’s this weird idea (which is perpetuated by a number of pretentious folks) that creative endeavors just pour out of people. There might be a handful of geniuses that have absolutely had to write or paint or whatever, but for the 99.99999 percent of us regular folk, you actually have to do work. I love to write, but there is a slew of things I would rather be doing than writing. I would rather…

  • do nothing
  • eat some food
  • play a game
  • read a book
  • watch crappy television
  • go for a walk
  • put intoxicating substances, like scotch, into my body
  • touch myself inappropriately
  • touch someone else inappropriately (with their consent)
  • pretend I’m writing by mashing the keyboard

Procrastination goes even deeper. Sometimes, I’ll work on one project to avoid working on another. I lovingly refer to that as ‘Procrastinception’. It’s incredibly weird to think that sometimes you’ll do work to avoid other work. There a common theme in this ‘doing work to avoid work’ scheme. You’ll say to yourself “Hey, you know what? This place is messy, totally unorganized. I’m not going to be able to focus on the task at hand until I get this junk in order.” You’ll spend the next four hours arranging your bullshit into piles where you think it belongs, pat yourself on the back, then tell yourself that when you get some more free time, THEN, then you’ll get down to brass tacks and start working. If you’re a creative person, you’ve probably done this once or twice.

The secret is, there is no good time to start writing or painting or picking up the guitar. That’s a luxury many people can’t afford. Your home is always going to be a little messy, there’s always going to be interruptions, and there’s always something that’ll come up to pry you away from writing a book, or painting a picture, or laying down a track. In fact, try to learn to work when there’s chaos around, like when you’re at your job on your lunch break and everyone is yelling at each other.

I constantly see images online of people writing in nooks, with tea and paper. But if you’re like me, life is going on around you. You can try and fight the stream, telling yourself you’re  just  waiting for the right moment. Or you can get to work and learn to write or paint or play when


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’m done binging on media for a while, maybe I’ll get some actual shit done now.

p.s.s. Seriously, if you’re into writing, check out Scrivener. Completely solid writing tool.

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