Why Am I Procrastinating?

It’s been four weeks since I posted a blog.

I could go into a long explanation about how busy I’ve been. As executive editor of Minerva Rising Press, I had to prepare for the 2017  AWP Conference, finalize the latest Minerva Rising issue – Fathers, and manage day-to-day operations. All necessary activities, but none require day and night involvement. In addition, my husband and I started a foundation to honor Matt’s life which needs oversight and management. And we won’t even get into being a wife and mother, or the general capriciousness of life.  But even with all of that, not writing my blog is an issue of procrastination, especially in light of how many episodes of House of Cards, This is Us, Timeless and Blackish that were watched within the same four weeks.

When I started working on my MFA back in 2009, I had a thirteen-year old daughter at home, taught writing classes full-time at a small liberal arts college, and lead a women’s Bible study on Saturday mornings, but still found time to write.  Procrastination was never an issue. So, why is it a problem now?

Many believe procrastination is a time-management problem, but the Washington Post article, The real reasons you procrastinate – and how to stop”, suggests it’s more of an emotional management issue. According to Timothy Pychyl, a professor who studies procrastination at Carleton University in Ottawa, the procrastinator believes she must feel good about the task she needs to complete. It becomes an issue of what feels better at the time. The procrastinator gives into the immediate gratification of feeling good in the moment rather than the more fulfilling accomplishment of a completed task.

I am totally an immediate gratification girl. And lately, I’ve been accepting the quick satisfaction of journaling instead of the more complicated blogging.  It’s less risky. No one reads it. My procrastination seems to be an issue of the type of writing I give into, rather than avoiding the task completely.

I spend a lot of time writing in my personal journal. My mornings general consists of devotional time with the Lord, followed by writing my morning pages. The practice of writing three pages in the morning came from The Artist Way. They gave the writer access to  innate creativity through the authentic first thoughts of the morning. For years, this practice provided deep insight into my writing and life in general.  Some of my favorite blogs started on those pages. But lately, there’s an issue of follow-through. Ideas spring up, but never get fully developed. Instead, they lay buried in the pages of my journal.

Don’t miss understand, I am not knocking morning pages. They are what taught me to trust the authenticity of my own voice.  But confining my voice to the privacy of my journal has contributed to my silence on many vital issues in our country. Writing about them gets it off my chest, but it does little to give voice to the voiceless.  Writers most write and publish.

This point was driven home to me as I left the Capital over a week ago while attending AWP. I sensed a need to use my writing for more than processing my life.  As writers, we must stand up for the values we believe in.  We can no longer afford to be silent in this contentious and volatile political climate.

It is much more important for me to write about the experience of being rushed out of Georgia Senators Isackson’s and Perdue’s office after thirty minutes by their aides despite being scheduled to meet for an hour. Or to add my voice in support of the affordable care act, planned parenthood, women reproductive rights and immigrants. And to speak out against racism, sexism, and classism. I need to share my experiences as a grieving mother so that others know they aren’t alone.

Being able to write is a precious gift meant to be shared. There is much work to be done to uphold the beliefs and values that established this country. Everyone must do their part. For some it means organizing or actively engaging in the political process by running for office. For others, it means volunteering or donating to organizations that support the marginalized. And to those of us who write, it means telling the stories that need to be told. It means stepping out of our comfort zone with the hope of expanding minds and changing the conversation. All of that to say I am more committed than ever to using my writing as an act of resistance.

So, even though I’ve been silent for the last four weeks, I’m back in the game.  No more procrastination. Only writing.

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