Of Procrastination and Luck

Procrastination Club

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Every success I’ve had can stem back to two aspects of my reality: procrastination and luck.

I procrastinate everything, and it doesn’t seem to matter how important it is. Student loans are due in two months, essay due tomorrow morning, need to write a new blog post, get an oil change, maybe go on a date, transfer the funds to pay my car loan off, find a job, do my laundry, send my best friend in New York his Christmas present (yeah I still haven’t done that, sorry Joe, but I do have it, in fact, I’m currently sitting in front of it – you’ll get it eventually).

So why am I not homeless?

Because I’m one lucky bitch. Honestly, there’s no other explanation, besides my natural sense of intelligence, and the ability to compartmentalize my emotions so I can handle the sense of doom that occurs when one has 45 minutes to write a 10 page paper. Mostly though, I’m just lucky.

I lucked into school: I’m awful at standardized tests, seriously horrid, but I managed to get into a school with my shitty scores. I applied for a whopping two schools without doing much research on either, and I got into one of them. I only applied to schools because my mother was more or less standing over my shoulder. And that my friends, is how I ended up at a Christian college surrounded by Amish country for a year and a half – it’s also where I met the aforementioned Joe.

I lucked into a job: Student loans were due in like three weeks, and my only source of income was still the movie theater – not sufficient. So I applied for a sales position at a radio station. I didn’t get it. I applied for a job as a resume consultant, I was scheduled for my second interview when the guy got sick. Just as he got sick and thus unable to interview me, I was able to start the radio job after all. Crazy. Who knows if I could have gotten the other job, that’s still a mystery.

I lucked into writing stories: I’ve always been a half-assed writer. I love writing, I do. Once I start I’m all sorts of gung ho! But starting a story, whew, takes me ages. So unless I have a deadline, I never start anything. Even when I do have a deadline, I wait until I have just barely enough time and I type like the wind. Somehow my stories are good, character’s make sense, and considering it’s a first draft that I did not have the time to revise. It’s pretty damn good. Now if I ever stopped procrastinating, in theory, I could be awesome.

But now that I’m an adult and the world expects me to support myself with a livable wage – I need to stop procrastinating, like, now – or maybe tomorrow.

Of Writing Failure

Success and Failure Sign

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Recently I wrote about being a lazy writer, an epidemic that all procrastinating artists can surely relate to.

The thing is laziness is a state of being. A state which can be easily overcome if one truly wants to.

Lately I’ve been suffering from a different writer problem. Quite simply – writing failure.

I have not liked what I’ve been writing. Private or academic. I’m not even satisfied with this blog post. And when what I’ve put to paper is rushed for a class, I find that especially frustrating.

I’ll be honest. I’m a better writer than most. Fiction and Non-fiction. I’m not the best, but I’m better than most, and I think that if I was pushed (by either myself or someone else) I could be fantastic.

Last night I was trying to write an eight page short fiction for my morning class. I spent hours trying to write something that wasn’t cliché and generic with no luck. I had words on a page. But they were just that: words. There wasn’t anything of substance behind them. The character’s were dull, the plot was non-existent, and I had no ideas on how I could progress the characters or what could happen around them. It was lame. UBER lame. I was frustrated.

It was a failure moment.

Non-writer’s struggle to relate to this. They hear: yes the paper is good enough and guaranteed at least a B with little to no effort. They wonder why I don’t just turn it in.

It’s simple. My own personal standards. And those are way more influential on what and how I write than a teacher or a peer. If I don’t think it’s as good as my other writing. Or if it isn’t coming out on paper as I imagined it in my head. It’s not good enough. So I sit there, stressing out because I know I’m better than that. I know that there’s more here that I’m not seeing. I want to write my Les Misérable. Sadly my creativity is failing me, and I’m writing a stupid Twilight instead.

Isn’t that the deal though writer’s? And I’m sure this goes for other art forms as well. Most of what I create isn’t the bestest-thing-ever. Most of it is painstaking work that doesn’t turn out the way I hoped. But when it does, that’s mighty exciting, and that makes all those practice drafts where I learned what works and what doesn’t, where I tried a variety of styles worth it.

Ultimately all the failures (hopefully) are leading towards a success.

Here’s my failure time line of yesterday:

  • I had about five pages done but I hated ALL of it.
  • Around 11pm I started a whole new thing.
  • I wrote until 2am
  • Went to sleep and woke up at 6am
  • Got ready for the day
  • Got to campus at 7am
  • Wrote like a mad women (didn’t have time to revise, was almost long enough, thank God it’s a rough draft)
  • Turned in my assignment online at 8:29am (class started at 8:30am)
  • I was late to class

Of Finals and Drive

Finals Week

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Finals suck! I repeat FINALS SUCK!!

Can I get an amen? Can I? CAN I?

Please excuse my mellow dramatic written behavior. But every human being who has been educated on any level will agree with that statement.

What is even more unfortunate is that every single professor decides to make large assignments due in unison of the accumulative tests. All this does is make the students lives more stressful.

Not very nice professors … I’m just saying.

Often it seems like we are doing nothing in my classes, at least in terms of turning in assignments. We sit in class, listen to lectures, take notes, and participate in discussions. But come the end of the quarter professors seem to have coerced with their fellow faculty and decide to make literally everything due at the same time. I’m failing to understand why professors don’t spread out their assignments more evenly. I mean surely it would make their grading load lighter … right?

Now if I still had academic drive at this point. This would not be a big deal. I would sit down and just do it. However my drive falls dangerously low after midterms, which results in me watching TV, browsing Facebook, playing solitaire, or anything other than writing those damn papers.

I’ve been so busy avoiding my to do list that I haven’t had the time to update this blog for about twelve days. And honestly I probably shouldn’t be on this website either. I should be focusing on Mina Loy and her hypocritical, body obsessed, futuristic concepts of motherhood. Or rereading Waiting For Godot. Or skimming over boring theory of what makes art art. Apparently I’m a lazy English major, but when I do the work I always do it exceptionally well. Often what I’ve thrown together in two hours is equal too and sometimes better than the work of my fellow students who have spent days preparing and hours upon hours working. Whereas in my world, computer card games, TV on DVD, and socializing have become my priorities.

Thankfully I am the master at bull shitting my way through written assignments.

And if I have enough coffee in my blood I can get anything done.

Two more weeks and this quarter will be done!

Then I party guilt free!

Of a Belly Full of Worry

Worried Belly

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Some people carry their stress or emotions in their neck. Others their back. Their shoulders. Basically behind them.

I, and I assume I’m not alone in this, carry mine in my stomach. Which is super unfortunate. It means that whenever I’m stressed or emotional I get to feel like there’s a massive weight in my stomach, and constantly, but never actually, about to throw up. It’s terribly annoying.

I feel like this now. I have a huge paper to write by tomorrow on analyzing a short story from a marxist perspective. Something I really, I repeat REALLY, don’t want to do. Now I could have started working on this oh say last week, did I??? Nope, I waited until the day before the first draft was due. Thank God it’s the first draft and not the final product, otherwise I’d be sunk. I also have a research proposal due on Tuesday – something else I’ve yet to start that’s bound to be time-consuming.

I’m also feeling more hostile. And based off my recent rollercoaster emotional past, if I’m not careful I could easily slip into depressionland. A place I want to stay far FAR FAR away from. It’s no fun. The total opposite of kicks and giggles.

So why do I keep putting myself in this situation? Why do I constantly do ANYTHING else and avoid my to do list? Why do any of us do that? God damn you procrastination!! Whenever I think I’ve got you under control you always find a way to make my life harder. It’s ironic really – people procrastinate to avoid the hard work only to have to face it with twice sometimes thrice the pressure.

Was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer worth the belly ache?