The Feb. 1 deadline for the OWFI contest is rapidly approaching. My New Year’s resolution was to get the first part of my novel up to snuff enough to enter it. And yet, I’ve spent more time over the past two weeks playing video games or wasting time online rather than writing. (I’m a World of Warcraft junkie.)
I don’t consider playing video games to be wasted time (much to my mother’s chagrin, no doubt). It’s a fun hobby, one I can share with my friends, and one that has provided ample story fodder over the past 16 years.
No, what I consider to be wasted time is the time I spend watching YouTube videos, playing on MySpace, or reading pointless forum threads, celebrity gossip, and Dear Abby. It’s entertaining, yes. But it’s not something that I want or need to do. And yet, every day, I probably sink an hour or two into that pastime.
Procrastination has always been one of my biggest flaws. I constantly put things off until the last minute, an ability that was finely honed in college when I spent my last semester seeing just how close to a deadline I could start the paper and still pass. (Answer: about 7 hours total, from choice of topic and research to final edits and end notes. I got a 91.)
Now that bad habit is causing me to lose hours of valuable writing time every day. And it seems no matter what I try, I’m still badly behind where I want to be at the end of the day.
However, I may have a chance to reform. A friend of mine found a book called Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy that has to do with defeating procrastination and accomplishing goals. The title comes from the idea that if you eat a live frog every morning, that’s probably the worst thing that you’ll have to do all day. In the book, the “frog” is the biggest, most important task you have to accomplish that day. Do it first, and that way it’s done.
I haven’t gotten a chance to read the whole thing yet, but from what I’ve read so far his ideas seem applicable to every goal situation, whether you want to meet personal goals or professional ones. Who knows? Maybe I’ll finally get some concrete ideas on how to quit procrastinating and start getting my stuff done.
How about you guys? Do you eat your frog every morning, or is it currently sitting in the corner, getting bigger and uglier every time your turn around? Do you have any set strategy for accomplishing your writing goals? How do you fend off writer’s block and procrastination?