I learned something today which has helped me feel a little less frustrated about myself and accepting the fact that I am not lazy when I have procrastinated in my work, because of something a motivational speaker on Instagram had said.
“When a person goes into procrastination it is the brains coping mechanism, a response to coping with too much emotional trauma and overload”. I may not have quoted them correctly, but it made me understand why I have procrastinated so long in my work.
Since September 2022 I’ve hardly written a thing towards any novel, because I have undergone a lot of emotional turmoil in my life. A grief, followed by a diagnosis in my son, followed by erratic behaviours and arguments and a break in a long term relationship – coupled with the emotions I was already trying to tackle of loneliness, recovering from long-term sickness, trying to start foundations for a new routine, career, every aspect of my life I was trying to concentrate on all at once and I got overloaded and emotionally burned out.
This is why I have procrastinated so long, because I was trying to fix too many problems in my life at once, that I ended up exhausting myself on an emotional level and found I lacked the energy to think creatively, because I’m tired.
I’ve tired myself out by overthinking other problems that I did not have the energy to throw myself into the problem solving of make believe problems.
I understand this now and it has taken a huge weight off my shoulders, the weight was the anger that I had become lazy, when in fact I was the opposite. I was working myself like a slave to do everything and being hard on myself when I failed my personal creative and career goals and dreams.
I have also sat back and reflected that some of the things I was angry about because I felt I was lazy about them, I had actually accomplished great things but didn’t notice because I was bogged down in over perfecting them or just simply not noticing the progress I had made.
For example, March 2022 I could barely get out of bed and walk downstairs and up just once without having an asthma attack and shaky legs.
From Easter 2022 I started to do small exercises, forcing myself to do the little things, until they built up. Well they did build up over a time and I didn’t notice the physical achievements I was able to do. Now I can walk up and down the stairs five times before feeling shaky. I can do 70 reps of side reaches before I feel I need a break and for the past week I have been able to start preparing my own meals and even cooked a meal for the whole family the other day!
Things I haven’t been able to do in almost eight years!
But did I praise myself for doing all that? No! Because I didn’t notice until I sat back and reflected on the past year.
No more than had I noticed last week that I’ve lost 14 inches around my waist in 2yrs! 14 inches!
I’ve been on a high protein diet and I have cut out a lot of the unhealthy snacks and caffeine I used to drown myself in, not all of them, but most – to the extent my diet is almost unrecognisable from last year!
Certain aspects of my health have improved immensely, though I still have two major problems which will never go away completely because it’s part of the auto-immunity problem I have.
I’m reading emails daily, whereas this time last year I used to go three weeks without checking them!
I’m spending a lot less time on social media too, I spent my whole day on social media last year!
I’m starting to read more books.
I’ve finished an art class online.
I am halfway through two more free courses, one ran by Mel Robbins.
I’m posting on my blog more often than not, whereas early last year I could only really post about once a week.
I’m cutting my nails instead of biting them.
I am replying to friends and family as soon as they message me instead of taking weeks to get back to them!
I’ve accomplished more milestones in the past year than I have my whole life and I didn’t notice them!
I was beating myself up for being lazy and yet I was doing so much – the irony!
I also noticed another thing – I felt I didn’t have the energy to write towards my novels and I was journaling my life pretty hard in private for the past two months and guess what? I noticed all my journal entries about my life amounted to 350k words, 350k in just two months!
I was writing approximately 2k in private journals and 4k on another one which I sometimes share with selected people a day, I say was, I still am. This is not including the word counts for my blog posts and poetry by the way, I never counted those up!
I told a friend online about this and I said why can’t I write like that towards my novels? She asked the same question back at me too!
Yes, why can’t you? Why can’t you implement changes in your style of writing so that you can do that just to get the first drafts down quickly? Maybe you are overthinking your first drafts way too much? You are trying to perfect first drafts immediately because you feel it’s urgent to write your novel, yet you are not writing your novel because of it.
Once again I may not have quoted her 100% but that was the gist of the conversation.
Using the same method I do for journal writing to write down first drafts would mean that I would get the first drafts of four or six novels down per month that would be amazing if it is as affective as my journal writing is!
However a novel is more than just a first draft, so that was just over optimistic thinking! But you get me, right?
I haven’t started implementing this yet, I am talking about it today, because it is today I am trying to start with that, today is the day I am going to change my first draft method.
Wish me luck!
Thanks for reading!