Why We Procrastinate

When I was last writing on procrastination, I realized that it was such a wide topic that it was not possible to cover everything in one post.  It was then that I had decided that I’d do few – each covering a different aspect. Today we’ll look at why writers procrastinate. I did a little research of my own and this is what I came up with:

1. There are days when we just don’t feel like writing. This was the main reason given for procrastination. According to these writers – You can’t force yourself to write. If there are times when you don’t feel like writing, it is best to leave it for later. Forcing yourself will never produce good results; it may even lead to frustration, which is even worse. These writers go on to say that in such cases, whenever they have left writing for later, the results have always been good. It’s as if their creativity rejuvenates during the resting period. (This reminds me of the comment by Mary Maddux to my previous post. She had said this exact same thing.)

2.  We don’t know enough on the topic. Some writers say that they procrastinate when they feel they don’t know enough on the topic. Leaving things for later gives them time to think, to check/recheck the material they have collected, or even to further research the topic. This happens mainly with writers who are perfectionists.

3. We don’t like what we write. Quite a few writers say that they put their writing off for later when they feel the quality of what they are producing is not good enough. They feel they can write much better than what they are writing now. This again is a sign of perfectionism – wanting their writing to be perfect.

4. We have other things on our mind. According to other writers, they leave their writing when they go through bad phases. That is, when they are under stress or tension due to some personal or work-related reason. They say it’s just not possible for them to write anything when they have so many other things on their minds. If they force themselves to, the results are not good. So, it’s best to leave the writing for the time when they are feeling better and their minds have cleared.

5. We’re too busy. A few writers procrastinate when they are busy with other things – personal or otherwise. They say that sometimes they just do not have the time and so have no choice but to leave the writing for later.

Do you procrastinate? Or does a writer that you know does? What is your, or his/her, reason for putting things off for later?

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Procrastination – Good or Bad

One of my students recently asked me whether procrastination was good or bad. Being a writer, it wasn’t difficult to explain.

ProcrastinateFirst of all, what is procrastination? Simply defined, it is putting things off because we either do not want to do them, or because we have too many things to do.  Don’t be afraid when you hear of procrastination being described as a “disorder” or a “psychological dysfunction”, because when writers procrastinate (anyone can procrastinate, not just writers), it’s nothing serious. You are simply putting off your writing assignments for later.

Why are you doing this? Well, the reasons may be many. Like we said above, you either do not want to do them (for reasons like – you are afraid of not doing them well, you do not like the assignments, you do not have the right environment, you think you work better under pressure, you have writer’s block, or you’re simply too lazy); or you have too many things to do and prefer to get the other things done before you sit down to write. We’ll discuss how to cure procrastination in a later post. Let’s just talk about whether it’s good or bad.

Well, it can be either good or bad depending on the situation and how you look at it.

It can be good if

  • It is due to lack of ideas and procrastinating gives you time to get over your block.
  • Doing something interesting first gives you inspiration for writing.
  • You are under stress or going through a bad phase, so putting the writing off for when you’re feeling better will produce better results.

It is bad when

  • Putting off your writing assignments for the last moment produces bad results.
  • You do not have time to review or proofread, thus ending up with error-filled writing.
  • You are not able to meet your deadlines.
  • Not meeting your deadlines results in bad reputation.

 

So, what do you think? Is procrastination good or bad? Why?

 

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