And yes, I do believe it is a habit; which means that ultimately the pattern of waiting until the last minute to finish something or never doing it at all can be broken.
I have warring tendencies in my nature that a) want to plan everything out and be prepared for every scenario possible in as many areas of my life as I can and b) wants to put everything off until...well, forever really. It's really quite confusing and a bit embarrassing that I seem to be a walking contradiction of myself.
It depends on the activity of course that determines how much procrastination takes hold.
If I ever feel as though I HAVE to do whatever it is, the more likely I will put it off until the last possible moment. If, of course, it is an extra curricular activity that I really WANT to do, it gets done first, and then I regret having finished it so quickly and not taking my time to savor the moment.
Three weeks ago, I volunteered to submit a piece for my writer's group for critique. Since I began, no one has gone twice, and I submitted my first time somewhere in the middle of the pack. I volunteered because our numbers have dwindled a bit during the summer months and no one else was willing to put their hat in the ring. So I thought "this is great," we're skipping the weekend we would normally meet due to the 4th of July weekend and I'll have an extra week to really have a stellar submission - really knock their socks off."
Oh, you think I would know myself by now...
I had so much time to do everything right and you know what happened? I had a recovering puppy with his hurt leg and vet appointments, family in town, brand new job, 4th of July plans, helped paint my friend's condo, read a couple of books, worked on our house reconstruction, our 3 year anniversary, birthday parties, copywriting for the new job...
A WHOLE LIST of things I either had to do or that took the place of sitting down and working on my critique submission.
Was there time in the midst of all of this to write? Of course there was. And what did I do? Write a little, but not focusing on the task at hand.
I had initially set out to finish this book, get an agent and get a publisher all before the end of the 2009 calendar year. A goal that I think I should still shoot for (so I have a deadline), but one that I am quickly beginning to realize is almost a laughable feat. Can it be done? Sure! Can I do it is an entirely different question. One that we will just have to see about.
So - that is what I'm struggling with currently. And it seems that when I air out my difficulties, it motivates me through shame and the fear of failure to actually turn myself around. So here goes nothing - I hope this works!
Here's my current situation:
I am hovering at right around 52,000 words at the moment. My goal is to reach around 90,000 words in my rough draft and then whatever the final word count is, I'm fine with.
To finish the rough draft alone in 2009, I need to be writing around 2,000 words a week.
That's 400 new words a day, if I write 5 days out of the 7. That's totally doable, right?? I think I can do it. But that's just the rough draft. Polishing the book is going to take a significant amount of time and stick-to-it-iv-ness, as my Mom would say.
Okay. That's enough of that for now.
Here's some other life-updates:
Axle doing his silly "Pooh-bear sit"
-Axle is healing quickly and doing really well. Matt and I took him to the vet today to get his stitches out and the surgeon who performed the surgery praised him on how well he was doing.
-My new job is as a Brand Manager with a company called Brand Iron. You can check out what we do here: www.brandiron.net
-Matt is working almost every night on the house and it's slowly getting done. The downstairs bath is almost complete (minus the baseboards, crown moulding and the mirror). We've taken inspiration from a photo my sister-in-law took while she and my brother were in Greece. It looks great. I am so proud of Matt and can't wait to share some pics of it when it's complete. Our house is going to look amazing.
Pistol, in a reusable grocery bag
-Our youngest pet, a 2 year old short haired tiger striped tabby named Pistol was picked up by a hawk this week. I was outside clipping the hedges when she spontaneously fell from the sky. Matt saw her land in an area that was not exactly a normal place for her to fall from (no trees overhead). The hawk glided up into a nearby tree to wait as she scampered off into the bushes. The hawk glided off his perch and headed straight for Matt, or so it seemed: Ty (our 4 year old cat) was in the grass behind him.
If the bird thought he could pick him up, he is crazy, or really really hungry; either of which is not really a good combination for our cats.
Pistol and Ty are both fine, surprisingly healthy, but pretty resentful about being confined to the inside of the house for now. Their cries for freedom are pretty pitiful and hard to ignore.
-My older brother passed his P.E. exam (Professional Engineer) on the first try. I guess only 50% of the applicants who take the test make it on the first time around, so we're really proud of him. Congratulations B!
-His son, (my nephew) is walking now - scratch that, running. He's keeping his mommy and daddy on their toes for sure. I hear that he has forgotten that he still needs to go down the stairs a bit lower to the ground and that he's feeling so confident in his new skill that he's fallen twice now. Isn't that how we learn? I imagine he'll be talking soon. But, if he's anything like his dad, he'll only speak when there's something really worth saying. And that's okay. It's just fun (for a chatter box like me) to watch him grow and await the day when he can communicate exactly what he means with words.
If you're still reading this, and you have a moment, please feel free to take my little poll about the book. I think that this will really help (when this eventually becomes more of a blog about writing and my book).