While I’m not officially participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I do think the challenge to write 50,000 words in a month gives many writers just the boost they need and a chance to solidify a consistent writing process, using helpful tools like scheduling, tracking, and accountability. So all month, my quotes will focus on some element of process and commitment.
Psychologist Timothy Pychyl studies procrastination. “It’s not about time management. It’s about avoiding negative emotion. Putting off the task allows us to put off the emotions.”
In other words, your do list is “a land mine of complex feelings, such as frustration, anxiety and fear;” you know, as the reporter said, that whatever you do, you’re going to lose something precious. “Human beings are much more sensitive to loss than to gain.”
– quoted in the Washington Post, 3/4/21
What do you risk losing when you sit at the keyboard or pick up your paintbrush? The opportunity to do something else, of course, but also, I think, the sense of the perfect thing that lives in your mind.
As the poet and former head of the National Endowment for the Arts wrote,
“How much better it seems now
than when it is finally written.”
—Dana Gioia, “The Next Poem”
But what do you gain? You’ll have clarified your vision and brought it to life, learned more about your craft, and turned your imagining into something you can share. That’s worth a lot, isn’t it?