It’s time for a true confession – I’m a habitual procrastinator. I’ve battled the problem for years.
Webster’s Dictionary defines procrastinate as “to put off intentionally and habitually.” Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. I could end the post here. Then ask all the procrastinators to think how putting things off affects your life. But if you’re anything like me you’d probably pull a Scarlett and say you’ll think about it another day. That would get us nowhere.
Procrastination has had a detrimental effect on my writing life. I long to do things in a timely manner, yet it never seems to happen. So what are the negative or destructive powers of procrastination?
1. Missed Contest Opportunities. I’ve seen announcements for some great contests. Final round judges would be agents and editors I’d love to read my manuscript. Then I’d look at the deadline for entering. A month away, plenty of time to get my submission ready. So I’d close the email (big mistake) and forget all about it. It’s hard to land the perfect agent or editor when they never have an opportunity to read your work. My new plan of action when I see a contest I want to enter is going to be different. I’ll stop right then, prepare my entry, and send it off. Wow! I can’t even imagine what that will feel like.
2. Slow Rolling Revisions. I did a little research on procrastination. It’s more than a time management issue. People tend to delay when they feel fear, dread, or are anxious about something that is important to them. Can anyone say revisions? If an editor asks you to revise a manuscript, deep inside you hope they’ll buy your book. There’s also fear of rejection. Fear could be the systemic issue stopping you from jumping on those revisions. After all, I think the editor expects to receive the revisions in a timely manner. My personal fear is the editor will turn me down for being tardy with my revisions. Whereas they’d ask a writer with a faster turnaround time to make additional revisions. Any opinions? I’d love your thoughts or experience with this?
3. Lost Submission Opportunities. Pelican Book Group has an open call for Christmas stories every year. The submission are due by the end of May. Knowing the date should leave plenty of time throughout the year to write a Christmas novella. Yet as a habitual procrastinator I’m never ready. When you see a publishing opportunity such as a contest Love Inspired is running, do you have a polished manuscript ready to submit? Having a ready to submit manuscript is a must in this business. Anything less can cost you a chance to be published by your dream publisher.
So far it seems like I’ve painted a pretty dismal picture. I apologize for that. Like so many weaknesses, procrastination is a lifelong battle. It can be overcome. Forgive yourself for being a procrastinator. Throw out the past and start with a clean slate. Then ignore your feelings and get started writing. Focus on the action you need to take. Progress will make you feel better.
Last year I made a commitment to indie publish a Christmas novella. And I did! I didn’t have a clue how to indie publish anything. Fortunately, I have two friends who’ve had success indie publishing. I also had the unfailing support of my sister. So I focused on revising an existing novella. Once my revisions were complete, I had the manuscript edited and proofread. Then I asked another friend for recommendations on who to hire to create my cover. Thankfully my very talented friend volunteered. Didn’t she do an awesome job? I just hope my story is half as good as her cover! And on December 1, 2016 my novella, The Christmas Bride Wore Boots, went live.
Did I do everything perfect? No, but I learned a ton. Most importantly, I met my self-imposed deadline. Let me tell you, that felt great. It renewed my confidence in my ability to write another book. I even decided to make this a three book novella series – The Berryhill Brides. Now I’m eager to write those novellas.
Just remember the destructive power of procrastination can be overcome. You have it within you to break the cycle. For me, the key is in recognizing what drives my procrastination. Don’t let feelings of inadequacy stop you. I’m sure I’ll fail from time to time. That’s okay. I’ll choose to forgive myself, because then I’ll actually move forward instead of focusing on my mistake. Mark Twain has been quoted as saying, “If your job is to eat a frog, eat it first thing in the morning, and if your job is to eat two frogs, eat the big one first.”
Are you a procrastinator? If so, what helps you overcome the problem? If you aren’t a procrastinator, I hope you’ll share a few tips for meeting deadlines.
The Christmas Bride Wore Boots - Berryhill Brides Book One
Pastor Jacob Thompson is in need of a director for the living nativity program and veterinarian Molly Kincaid offers to take on the job. The task involves far more than Molly bargained for, nonetheless she’d do anything to help out the man she secretly loves – even sew costumes or cast eight-year-old Wesley Simpson as an angel.
Jacob’s daughter Emma longs to have a mommy of her own, but the widowed pastor has vowed to never remarry, and isn’t ready to open his heart to love again. Molly dreams of filling the void in both their lives, but fears she lacks the necessary qualities to be a pastor’s wife.
As Molly and Jacob work together on the living nativity, their feelings for one another grow. Will Molly realize she is just what Jacob and Emma need in their lives? Can Jacob be released from his grief stricken promise? Could this unlikely duo prove to be a match made in heaven?Terri Weldon is a lead analyst by day and an author by night. She enjoys gardening, reading, and shopping for shoes. One of her favorite pastimes is volunteering as the librarian at her church. It allows her to shop for books and spend someone else’s money! Plus, she has the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction. She lives with her family in Oklahoma. Terri has two adorable Westies – Crosby and Nolly Grace. Terri is a member of ACFW and OCFW, a local chapter of ACFW. Her dream of becoming a published novelist came true in November 2013 when Mistletoe Magic, released from White Rose Publishing.
Readers can connect with Terri: Website: www.TerriWeldon.com or
Blog: Seriously Write