Tag Archives: deadlines

Attack of the Procrastinator

One of my worst fears is that my procrastination will prevent my progress as a writer. It can be distressing for a writer to have a deadline looming over his/her head, but it is an occupational hazard. For most of my life, I have used deadlines and due dates as a way to push myself to write better. Procrastination is one of the worst detriments because it convinces you that you have the time and energy to get the job done later rather than sooner.

My confidence somehow enhances the more I wait to get my paper written. It defies logic that waiting until last minute will produce a good quality anything. As illogical as it seems, I follow it foolishly. This is my second critical paper for the practicum semester, and what appeared like an easy paper turned out to take a lot more time. I read Blackbird House  in plenty of time to complete the paper.

However, I am four days from the deadline, and only 2 pages into my critical essay. Am I worried? No way! Should I be? Probably. At this point in my academic/writing career, I should know better then to waste my time not finishing the paper. At the same time, I know I’m not necessarily wasting my time not doing my paper. Since I finished the book, I knew what I would write for the essay. I just haven’t been able to execute the whole thing. So, I’ve been spanning the work a little each day: brainstorm, outline, and actual then writing. Two pages down and around 3-5 pages more to go.

If I keep up a pace of 1-2 pages a day, I will finish it with time to spare. Is it procrastination to span out the work day-by-day? To me, it’s an unconventional way to get my paper done with a busy schedule. Maybe without Facebook and the allure of watching Man vs. Wild on Netflix, I’d be able to concentrate a little more. Hopefully, the procrastination will kick my adrenaline in gear to get my work done in time.

How does your procrastination attack you while writing? Does Facebook creep up every ten minutes? Do you search for activities to avoid doing your work? Share the ways you struggle with procrastination!

Happy writing/reading!

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I’m Baaaacccck!

My short hiatus is over, and I am glad to be back in the game. It was a grueling two or three days that I was forced away from daily routine to write 10 pages of fiction for school. I think I would like to recant my statement that school was going to be easy. Even when we don’t meet and only have 8 assignments for the practicum, it’s still tough as balls!

It was rough trying to write 10 pages when my story is coming to a close. If I was writing a novel, I could pump out 10 pages easily. However, I am notorious for putting too much unnecessary detail in my story. This is even more important not to mess up because short stories are meant to say a lot in less words.

On the plus side, the due dates allow me to add significant length to my story without compromising my insane imagination. I feel like I benefit most from having someone give me a specific amount of writing by a certain time to avoid my chronic procrastination. Instead of wasting weeks only writing a few pages, it allows me to get more content out with a goal in mind. I think the process of having someone constantly expecting a certain amount of writing for you makes you a better writer.

It’s not going to be easy when I’m on my own with no deadline other than the imaginary goals I make for myself. This is mostly because I never follow my own due dates, but also because I don’t have someone nagging me to get it done so they can critique it. The importance of a critique fuels me to write my story in a better way than I would have. Sometimes as a writer, you begin writing a story that is more for you than for potential readers. It has those boring parts that only mean something to you personally, and the story has holes only your experiences can fill. If you know you’re going to have someone read your story, it must evolve to an universal story that can apply to more people without sacrificing the integrity of the story. It makes my writing more than a hobby if I can entertain or influence readers other than myself.

So far, I feel good about the progress I’ve made with my writing. While i wait to hear the verdict from my mentor, I’m keeping my head high. Even if she hasn’t seen a change in my writing, I know I have. I can’t make every reader happy, especially one who has been writing for so many years. The useful skills she provides are vital to my development, but the truth is simple. You’re not going to please every reader with your style. Since I’m just grasping my style and purpose, there is room to be molded. However, the fundamental aspects that make my writing unique, won’t be changed no matter how many times I’m told about it.

You see, the magic of writing is that once you have a good set of skills, creative license allows you to make decisions other writers wouldn’t make. This idea appeals most to poets who can defy normal sentence structure. Yet, fiction writers have been changing their personal format since the beginning. It makes our job truly amazing that we have the opportunity to bring our story to life exactly how we see it. Whether or not a publisher wants to sell it is a completely different post all together.

I’m off to my next assignment. Happy reading and writing!

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Only 24 Hours in the Day

Well, I’ve finally found a point in my life where I just hate being so busy. Responsibility is probably the hardest thing for a writer. After my first residency, I had the luxury of having all day to write, read, and relax. Although I struggled to manage my time well, I loved having that freedom. Recently, I was lucky enough to land a job in these hard, economic times. It pays well and I don’t have to think a whole lot.  The only downside is that the responsibility creeps in, sucking up my entire day.

Working is one of the most vital aspects of life, especially in this expensive decade. As much as I respect this reality, I wish I didn’t have to waste over 8 hours of my day at a place I can’t write.  I regret that I have not been as attentive to my blog, dear readers. Usually, I can write two or three long posts a day. However, cooking, cleaning, and working consume the domestic side of my day. After a long day of mindless data entry, I come home to be the housewife I dream to be.

My creative urges are stifled most of the time, but they bubble the less I write. The obligation to my school work is constantly on my mind even when I don’t have the energy to write. I force myself regardless of how little time I have to write and read whenever I can. With a looming deadline coming up in a few days, I have around 7 more pages of my short story to write. It is amazing what the anticipation of a deadline can do for the creative process.

Speaking of my short story, “Somewhere” is on Part 3, and is becoming so much more than I could have hoped. Initially, it began as a potential freelance story. The idea was meant to show reflection on one’s regrets in life. Several weeks into the story, the inspiration for the overall came to me rather naturally. One of the classic stories of personal reflection is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

It has been almost a decade since I read the book last, and the reaction was the same. Charles Dicken still amazes me with his ability to create such descriptive dialogue, and thought provoking plots. The story of Scrooge inspired my current story because the characters are somewhat similar. When a person refuses to reflect on their actions, they risk never living a fulfilling life. In this case, the opportunity for redemption is given to Scrooge, so he can change how his life will end up.

For my character (spoiler alert), she isn’t given a good opportunity to change. Rather, she is forced to reflect on her life because she is immediate danger of losing it. The fear of death looms over the story to give a sense of reality. Most of the time, we forget that our lives may end any day. There isn’t much time to change your ways when your last day is so unpredictable.

So, with a few days left to add pages onto my story, I leave my readers with an optimistic approach. Although, I have little time to blog when I get home, I will try to update as often as possible. Hopefully, I will have Part 3 posted at the end of the week.

Happy reading and writing!

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