Why Can’t I Write?

By Lois Willis

Like most writers, I have been writing in some form since I was a kid. I remember writing scripts, short stories, and essays about a myriad of topics. I didn’t need an excuse to write, I just did it. Since I am older and find myself writing under deadlines and often about uninteresting topics, I find it more difficult to write. What gives? Why can’t I write when it is one of the things I like to do most? One reason: procrastination.

“Procrastinator, procrastinator, why do it now, when you can do it later?”

I’m sure you have heard this little ditty and if you’re anything like me, then you have embraced this quirk, even though procrastination can cause be a source of an overwhelming amount of stress. According to Wikipedia, procrastination is defined as “…the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished.” I procrastinate because I work best under tight deadlines. At least that is what I tell myself. But, as I put off writing, the fact that I HAVE to write hangs gloomily over my head. I won’t talk about the psychology behind procrastination; however, I did read this interesting article on why writers are the worst procrastinators.

“I’m a lazy perfectionist.”

Procrastination is nothing to celebrate as it often leads to less than desired results. You can read this article on common reasons why people procrastinate, but the two I connected with most are:

  • I’m a perfectionist—I want everything I write to be perfect, so this high expectation I have placed on myself leads to the opposite result: writing that seems rushed and definitely less than perfect
  • I’m lazy—I hate to admit this, but I can usually think of a zillion more things more entertaining than writing. In fact, I spent quite a bit of time searching for the right picture to go with this post.

I figured out that writing as an adult means something different than it did when I was a teenager. Then, I wrote for the fun of it. Now, writing is my livelihood as well as being a creative outlet. I still have challenges when it comes to tackling different writing assignments in a timely fashion. Tomorrow, I will work on making writing as fun as I remember.

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