The Last Minute Habit

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As I’m sure you all know by now, I’m currently enrolled in the continuing education department at the University of Calgary earning my professional writing certificate. That means I’m juggling more. A lot more.

The intro course was an eye opener. It was extremely fast-paced and had a lot of assignments due. And it was only three weeks long. My first real course started April 4, and while things seem a bit more manageable at this point, I know that if I start to let things snowball, I’m going to be a mess.

As I type this, the snowball is small, but it’s starting to roll. However, I’m chasing it as fast as I can. The past couple of weeks have been insane for me. I’ve had appointments and running around to do. I’ve had high stress at work that I’ve had trouble leaving at work. I’ve been simply exhausted, which makes coping with everything else that much more difficult.

Ultimately, I’ve fallen into some old habits I thought I’d left behind. The main one among them: The Last Minute Habit.

I hate The Last Minute Habit. I’ve spent years trying to break myself of it, but it always catches me. I’m a chronic procrastinator, but I hate the stress of leaving things to the point that I’m working on them within 24 hours of their deadline. I’ve learned to plan ahead, organize, strategize, and get things done ahead of time if I know my timetable is going to be nuts.

I’ve practiced and succeeded with Anxiety Ink and E.V. Writes. I’ve done an excellent job with my coursework on top of those two because I do not want to turn into the creature I was in university. The majority of my life priorities have also been more or less well-maintained. What I haven’t done a decent job with: my writing.

Yes, I’m hitting my goal of writing down fiction words three days a week, but more often than not they lack substance. I’m getting by with one or two sentences added in each session. Each time I log what I’ve written in my tracker, my little write-up begins, “I’m really disappointed with myself, but at least I got my words in.”

I’m tired of being disappointed with myself. I said as much to Kate last week when we met and she brought up her 10 minute free writing challenge. I’m an awful free writer, but I want to give my story the 10 minutes (minimum) a day that it deserves.

I have a lot going on; however, I know I can set aside a solid 10 minutes for my story three times a week. That’ll be 10 times what I give it when I do open it up right now. And I’m going to do it first. The deadlines for everything else ensure I get them done –that doesn’t mean my fiction deserves to be left to rot.

I’m going to break you Last Minute Habit. I’m determined.

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