Procrastination is probably the writer’s greatest hidden enemy. Most of us unconsciously employ strategies designed to stop us putting pen to paper and getting on with the job. This is so even if we actively enjoy the process of writing. Something in us is almost self-destructive in its desire to stop us expressing ourselves in words.
At least, that seems to be my experience: I can’t honestly speak for others, though I’ve noticed there’s a good deal of chat online about writers and procrastination!
This morning I awoke early, determined initially to deal with a non-writing issue involved with some planning applications I’m making on behalf of a charitable trust I currently chair. That took me a good 30 minutes of investigation. I was then intending to do some creative writing; nothing specific planned, but the idea was to explore a poem, or maybe start a new short story.
But I was online for the investigation. I glanced at my Google tabs and decided to deal with emails. Then I ventured onto Twitter to see whether there was anything needing my attention. Big mistake. 47 minutes later, I realised how long I’d been there, retweeting, commenting, and generally getting involved in the process. But what does it achieve? Probably very little, if the truth is faced. It’s an outlet for our various frustrations if we’re passionate about injustice, cruelty, corruption or any other social ill. But I doubt we can change minds via this social media outlet.
What else might I have managed in those 47 minutes? What might I have created?
It occurred to me (I’m a bit slow sometimes) that this particular social platform has become almost addictive for me: I go there intending to respond only to those tweets that require a response, and maybe to indulge in a quick promotional post. Invariably, I discover some time later I’m still mired in the mix of garbage and wisdom, inanity and hope, callousness and inspiration that is the substance of Twitter. I probably spend (for which I should honestly translate ‘waste’) as much as an hour and a half a day there.
So, once I’ve posted this piece and dealt with its spread over the net, which will include a link on Twitter, I intend to stay away from the site completely for a whole week. I leave the site with 23,125 people I’m following and 22,706 people following me: it’ll be interesting to see whether the break affects these figures, as I intend to place a statement about the break as my ‘pinned’ tweet, once I’m ready.
I’ll let you know, next Sunday, what has been the outcome of this self-imposed prohibition, and whether I actually managed to keep to my intention!