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Around June, I felt a twinge of guilt, but I tamped it down, being I’m a practiced rationalizer when it comes to nebulous things like “shame” and “slacker.” The fact it had been a year since I technically finished Girl on a Grecian Urn, and I had neither finished the revisions nor completed a new manuscript didn’t pang me too long. At a time.
I mean, it panged me every day. I’d go to bed, thinking, you haven’t written. If you had done this or so, I bet you could have written two pages at least. I thought about writing; but that never manifests itself into words on the page like you think it would. I reassured myself that I still had six months to get it in gear. I would surely have the revisions done by November so I could send the revised manuscript to the Golden Heart.
Between planning to write and non-writing, I sent out queries. I believed if someone asked for the book, then that would inspire me to finish the revisions for the last four chapters. I was fishing for motivation (in myself and my characters) like I was Ishmael after a freaking whale. Neither of us found any.
In September, my procrastination took a new tact. I would work on other aspects of my life instead. The Virginia Woolf procrastination epiphany. I wasn’t writing my magnum opus because I didn’t have a room to write in. All by myself. Away from awful, awful distractions like handsome men who wanted to lure me to bed with hot sex…and the internet. Call me Odysseus, stuck on this pain-staking journey of writing: shoals, hurricanes, doldrums, hot sex, you name it—I had a writer’s equivalent for it. I was in a leaky boat, sailing nowhere fast.
I consoled myself that the sex and the internet were research. I had three months to get it all done; plus I could totally do that NaNo thing.
So after three months of researching, I’m now staring at my calendar in stark disbelief. Holy hell, it’s December 30th and I still haven’t finished the revisions on that blasted novel. Nor have I finished a new manuscript! Hell, I couldn’t even tell you the idea for the new manuscript. I keep coming up with new ideas, but none of them want to stick to the wall. They’re all…blech.
I’m beginning to feel like one of those locusts who only mates every seven years. Well, I used to feel that way about my sex life too, but now I think it only applies to my writing. I haven’t found a locust I’m willing to crawl out of the woodwork for. In the meantime, I’d rather sleep until something brilliant comes to me. (Napping is my number one favorite pastime. Sometimes it’s number two, but…well, never mind.)
So what’s a sleepy, uninspired, unmotivated, and undone pirate to do? Well, lucky for me, this is the time of year for resolutions. Which is to say, I’ve found another way to procrastinate. (And I need to add: generally speaking, we all know resolutions don’t usually stick for long. There are one-night stands that last longer than most.) So how do I word my resolution in such a way that it doesn’t dissolve faster than a Britney Spears’ marriage? What do you do to put your words into actions? You know, besides the obvious action of: butt in chair, hands on keyboard? No, no, too obvious.
Then Janga did it for me. We were discussing Resolutions yesterday; and Janga listed out what resolutions she was going to implement in the next year. But she didn’t leave it at just the resolution: she broke the resolution into two or three smaller attainable goals or solutions. Simple things anyone could do to accomplish the Herculean task of overcoming procrastination. Then she capped the whole thing with a theme mantra: DISCIPLINE. All it takes to accomplish any of the small attainable tasks is discipline. Which clearly is the antithesis of procrastination.
Besides a good mantra clears your mind as you set into action into one of those smaller, clear goals. So my resolution this year is to adopt Janga’s resolutions (and concrete actions to attain resolutions and her mantra) as my own so as to not find myself on December 30, 2009, going “Holy sh*t, have I literally screwed around all year again?” (Okay, that might not be a totally wasted year in my opinion, but…I should vary it a little.) Besides, isn't stealing from your friends the highest form of flattery? Or laziness? I'm unsure which. Maybe both.
Until I figure it out (this head cold is the pits), I will add: Janga's got this figured out. I'm going to try to be a bit more like Janga this year. (And if she doesn't conform strictly to her new disciplined regime, then I'll go with the "do as I say, not as I do" approach. Whether she follows her own advice or not, it's still brilliant.)
Who do you admire and wish to emulate more this year—and why? What small, concrete ways will you do to accomplish your resolutions? What’s your favorite mantra/motto?