I’m sure you know the experience of being about to sit down to write (or do any creative work), when all of a sudden, you are certain the kitchen needs to be cleaned, the laundry is begging to be folded NOW, and/or the grout in the shower needs a good brushing. Perhaps your Procrastination manifests less into household-oriented emergencies, but I am willing to wager that something beckons you for attention when the time comes to create.
I face such alluring distraction each and every time I think of the Creative To Do in front of me. No matter how many times I have wielded my sword/pencil/pen/brush against Procrastination and won, it returns the next day, well rested and arrogant, knowing it has a fair shot at winning.
And honestly, some days, Procrastination does triumph.
Last weekend, I could feel the anxiety brewing each time I started to work on writing content for a new coaching program. I had an outline and more than a vague idea of the tone and direction I wanted the content to take. Plus, the idea filled me with an electric, buzzy excitement; it was exactly the kind of coaching program I had been wanting to create and deliver to entrepreneurial leaders.
When the idea first landed, I could intuit immediately that it would connect with my audience and truly offer a deeply transformational experience. My new offering was almost jumping up and down, impatiently waiting for me to get it all down on paper.
So, of course, I got up from my desk and walked away from the work.
I stood in the kitchen, looked around, and decided to cook. Before long, I had pulled various vegetables and other ingredients from the fridge. I began chopping away in a Zen-like trance, putting myself into a relaxed, nonthinking state. I was doing, while letting my mind settle, similar to the state I go to when driving long distances or while in the shower.
I focused on my knife work, trying to slice and chop like Gordon Ramsey. I washed the leeks and removed their fuzzy, rooted bottoms and the tougher parts of the green stems. I was poised to slice, but before the knife made contact, the words for my content came tumbling into my mind like a blast of water from a pipe that had just been used for the first time in months.
I ran with wet hands, coated in leek bits, to my desk and began typing. I managed to catch just about all of the words before the Muse floated away like a balloon that had loosened itself from a child’s hand. I read what was on my screen and put two fists in the air. It was 90% complete, and it captured my passion and idea completely.
If I still smoked, I would have fired up a cigarette.
There is something to engaging in battle with Procrastination by not warring with it head on. Rather, by immersing yourself into a parallel, creative task that you enjoy, you can let your mind settle softly into the sandy, ocean bottom where it is quiet and still, gently opening your mind to receive. It is then that your inner censor has nodded off and let its guard down, clearing the way for your voice to find its confidence and come to the surface.