Have I Edited Today?
That’s a really good question. And… no. I haven’t edited today. But! I’m totally going to. I promise! After ignoring Scrivener wanting to update for about a month, I decided to finally let it update. That update is taking much, much longer than I thought it would. After 15 minutes of downloading the update, it’s only downloaded 15%… And when it’s finished download, it has to install the update.
I hope it doesn’t take all night.
Back to my original question and answer. After all my blogs of how I was going to get my novel edited before November and how having my desk was going to help, I didn’t edit. I maybe poked it with a virtual stick but I didn’t edit. And I pretended to feel bad about it. But, the truth is, I’m a horrible procrastinator. I’m pretty sure it’s trait which comes with writing. There’s so many other less important things to do which are suddenly more exciting! If I don’t check Twitter every few minutes, I might miss something! (I wish I was joking. But, sadly, I’m not. I’ve got Twitter open on Chrome right now and on my task bar I can see it says I have 13 new tweets to read. It’s killing me that I’m ignoring it.)
On Sunday, I decided to Do Something About It. So I made a sign. I made a sign out of bright orange paper and stuck it on the wall above my desk where I can’t help but see it. And that sign?
And on Sunday, I edited! On Monday, I edited again! It was brilliant! I actually guilted myself into editing my novel. I felt good, it was fun to get my novel moving again and I figured I may be able to at least get through the first edit by November.
And then on Tuesday, I didn’t edit. I went swimming after work and by the time I got back and had a shower and something to eat, it was late and I was tired and blah blah blah. But I didn’t edit. I pushed the guilt aside.
So now my sign has a friend:
And if I do edit:
And right now I’m considering adding a sad face for when I haven’t edited and a happy face for when I have. See? Procrastination at its finest! By the time the novel is finished, I’ll have a wall of messages to myself. I’m not sure if that’s pushing the boundaries of sanity or not.
My point is, it’s possible to make yourself feel bad and it can take more than staring at the paused DVD on your TV and debating whether to stop watching so you can write/edit. Because staring at the TV from the comfy-ness of your chair will not ensure you write. It will ensure that the DVD will stare back and force you to stay right where you are.
You need something that you have to move or hide or fix in order to avoid writing. Put a post-it note on your TV, on the fridge, on your current book of choice. Have your post-it note be blunt, be mean. Turn it into its own little post-it note character who won’t let you do what you want to do until you’ve done what you need to do. Have the post-it note stalk you around the house, taunting you until you sit down and write 500 words, or edit four pages. The post-it note is your worst enemy, yet it’s the best friend you’ll never realise you have. It allows you to hate it so you can be the person you want to be. Because it can take it. Because it’s not your hero. It’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.
I got way too much into that didn’t I?
Highly personified post-it notes aside, you need to be strong enough to set up the reminder in the first place and let it guilt you. I don’t like sitting at my desk with a blunt “Why not?” tagged onto “Have you edited today?” Because I can’t answer it. I never have an excuse good enough for why I haven’t even given 10 minutes to my novel. But I know I can’t remove the “Why not?” until I have removed the need for the question to be there. So, I sit down and I edit. And then I can turn over my “Why not?” into “Yay!” and my world is a happier place.
I’m no longer entirely sure where this blog is going… my brain keeps conjuring vivid memories of the dream I had between 7:05am and 7:30am which involves our toilet breaking and water shooting up out of it, especially when I managed to disconnect the toilet bowl from the pipe underneath which looked more like a shower pipe. My dream self got very wet.
Also I keep thinking that it’s Friday.
But, yeah, guilt yourself with colourful notes. Your future self will thank you for it.