431 Words on Procrastination & Writer’s Block

writing prompt

This was a writing prompt given to me at a community writer’s workshop I attended this weekend. We were given 25 minutes to write. This is what I came up with:

Strategy scares the hell out of me. Mostly because I’m not good at it.

Myers-Briggs says I’m a feeler, not a thinker. I do think, sometimes, from the outside in – but mostly I act. I make, I do, I jump. I do not have the patience to plan.

All around me is evidence of strategy working. Sure, there is talent and skill, but so too is there strategic genius and foresight. My writer friends with their well thought out platforms and perfectly positioned brands. Meanwhile my URLs all have hyphens and nets where there should be coms.

I worry I’ll never string together anything of significance. Nothing remarkable. No mark that lasts. My stops and starts will amount to illegible chicken scratches that become indistinguishable from the grain over the time.

What if I don’t have enough of the good stuff? The practical stuff?

What if I’m all leap and no plan?

I woke up in the middle of the night this weekend with an acute awareness of my limited existence. I could feel my finiteness, and it was terrifying. There I sat, a spot on a very short line, a line with a hard stop ahead. And I had no idea what to do about it. I sat in the fear, soaked in it and tried not to judge or run. I called it courage.

I have written a great many things that I’m proud of. I’ve received feedback and praise and publicity, and now I’ve fooled myself into thinking the whole world is watching and waiting.

It’s pride really. Pride and fear. Well, price, fear, and nausea. The thought of sitting down and coming up with a beginning, middle, and end turns my stomach. And how stupid is it to be scared sick of writing? So let’s just not think about fear today.

“You know, maybe,” a timid voice speaks up, “maybe I’ve lost faith in the relevance of my stories. Maybe I need to remember that the ordinary matters.”

“No,” the old critic brays. “No, you are just lazy and lack willpower. You cannot do the hard things, or even the uncomfortable things. You lack perseverance and stamina and plain old fashion work ethic. You have no strategy.”

“What’s it matter anyway?” I think. I’m but one dot on one short line. There’s no harm in fading away.

And so I put it off for one more day, and I watch one more episode of Friday Night Lights.

  1. Ethan says:

    Sometimes it’s funny how we know we should avoid procrastination but there’s just too much going on in our head, sometimes an entirely different story, that would lead us to procrastinate anyway, which we’d hate later (at least I would).

    Great piece! :) Thanks for sharing it.
    Ethan’s most recent post: How to Be Strong Even When You’re Alone

« « Next Chapter | Why I Didn’t Cry At Inside Out » »