Terrible Advice

Reader, let me be perfectly clear with you, I am a procrastinator. It is only through the power of caffeine and deadlines that you are able to read this. Now, I do not regret my membership in the procrastinator club. In fact, it is probably one of the few things left in the world that keep me sane. However, as with all good things, I do have some issues with my natural ability to wait until the last minute to get anything done. Sometimes, it ends with me wishing that I could time travel back to when I first get some work and beat the holy hell out of past me until he relented and started his work.

It's not self-abuse if you alter the future. Then it's just abuse.

I mean, I like to think it is not an uncommon feeling. We all make mistakes and as such we all want to sometimes go back in time and give ourselves either forewarning or a nice slap upside the head. Yet, thanks to procrastination I generally get this feeling either every week or every time I stumble upon an old unfinished piece of writing. However, it’s only the latter that really makes me want to exploit time travel.

I mean not all of those pieces are diamonds in the rough. Some of them are just total pieces of crap. In these cases, procrastination is actually a pretty nifty tool. I mean it sometimes helps me weed out pieces that I shouldn’t be spending any time on. Hell, I would be doing you a disservice if I did not give you some idea of how terrible I was/am.  So without further ado, here is one of my greatest moments of shame. “He ate a sandwich. It was a delicious sandwich full of deliciousness. He knew today would change his life. And it all started with that delicious sandwich.”  Yes, I actually wrote that as a very short story about three years ago. It was saved as the Greatest Story ever.doc.  Obviously, I am an idiot.

Seriously, though, sandwiches are the source of all my creativity.

Sometimes I start something that’s not half bad. What’s truly infuriating though is, most of the time, I never finish it. When I stumble upon unfinished pieces later and decide, “oh hey, maybe I should finish it,” I find that I can’t recapture the state of mind or ideas that I was using as the driving forces behind the pieces.  It becomes frustrating when you know you have something that could be a worthwhile exercise in writing and you can’t recapture that tone that made the piece so interesting.  Or you have no idea where you were going with the piece, what was the point or the overall purpose of it. I mean who knows maybe, just maybe, Greatest Story ever.doc was going to be a poignant tale of one man’s triumph via the power of an awesome sandwich. Okay, that’s still stupid, but hey at least it would have had an ending. In any case there are two options: you can try and recreate it or you could just give up and try your hand somewhere else.

But neither of those options actually solves the actual problem of procrastinating. So, I tried to get one of my friends to be kind of like my warden. His job was to make sure that I would get a piece out every week.  If I didn’t  get something in by the end of the week I would get calls, texts, emails, all annoying the crap out of me to finish the damn thing. That worked for like a month, and it was easily the most productive month of my life. Then, I shut down the entire productivity.  I am not really sure what happened there.  It just kind of stopped, the system failed, but I had no idea how.  It was like a glaring plot hole where my only logical conclusion was that a wizard did it. A wizard that I doubt exists, but likes to ruin everything. However, somewhere in there was a lesson that I learned that month.

Don't be hatin'.

Basically, try not to screw around when you are trying to get some writing done.  Whether or not it is work for school or for your own personal experimentation, try to get it done. Those ideas you have at that moment in time, they aren’t going to be there forever, as much as you would like them to be.  Especially with school work, sometimes you have a great idea for an essay, you write it down and then when you come back to it, you realize you have no idea where you were going with it.  Now you may say, well that is certainly preachy; do you at least walk the walk?  Yeah. No. I still procrastinate. I never said I implemented that plan.  Like I said, I’m kind of an idiot.

-Vijay Maharaj

This is how my days usually end.

About BentleyWritingCenter

This is the official blog of the Bentley University Writing Center staff.
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