Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Procrastination: The Ambitious Writer's Enemy — Hovsepian

I used to deny - passionately! - that I procrastinate. Then I started simply making excuses or explaining it away. At one point I accepted and admitted it. But I didn't really do a whole lot about it.

Now, I'm not a terrible procrastinator. I always meet my deadlines and am the proverbial busy person to whom everyone always gives more things to do. I have a reputation for being organized and keeping track of things. And yet, if I can get away with it, I tend to leave things until the minute-just-before-I-panic-because-it's-almost-the-last-minute! My procrastination has always been just enough under control that it doesn't really affect the people around me (much), just myself.

About four or five months ago, it stopped feeling like something I could just laugh about or brush off. I sensed God telling me, "Ann-Margret, I've been patiently waiting for you to realize the negative impact of this habit and to outgrow it. You're not doing the things I want you to do."

And it hit me. This had turned into a spiritual problem. No, I wasn't committing any huge sins... and I wasn't even being irresponsible toward the people I made commitments to. But I was holding myself back from the opportunities and possibilities God wanted to bless me with. I was holding myself back from the articles and books I want to write, from the projects I want to work on, and even from the fun things I want to do! I wasn't being a good steward of the gifts and resources and time He's blessed me with. I wasn't appreciating the honour of being called by God to fulfill a specific purpose.

Suddenly, mediocre became nowhere near good enough. Not for me, and I knew not for God. So now I have an accountability partner and I'm using my organizational skills to keep track of my small and big goals (daily, weekly and monthly). I'm spending more time reading my Bible and, ironically (but not surprisingly), I'm finding more time to get things done and out of the way to make even more time for writing projects.

We can make all kinds of excuses for not writing: lack of skill, lack of time, lack of ideas, lack of confidence, lack of whatever... But if you're not writing, what are you left with, and are you happy with it? I wasn't.

A word of encouragement: If I can overcome procrastination (even with baby steps), anybody can! Just don't tell yourself you'll start next week...

Ann-Margret Hovsepian


violet said...

Hmmm, is reading this blog procrastinating?

I must tell you I've had a look at your designer genes blog and it is so much fun. Great job!

Linda Wegner said...

thanks for the insight into what is often perceived as merely a "weakness". I tend to take on so much that I have no time, even to procrastinate, but that also has its spiritual consequences. Your words are a valuable exhortation!

Marci said...

Good words, Ann-Margret - and needed. Thanks. Marcia

Ann-Margret said...

Thanks, ladies, for your comments and encouraging words! :)

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