Where there’s a will, there’s a way (to procrastinate)

For the first time in several weeks my dirty laundry basket is empty, even my shower curtain has been washed. Why? The same reason random buttons have been sewn on to little-worn clothes and I’ve found five different recipes on how to bake the perfect banana loaf: it’s time to get on with my writing! It’s not that the will isn’t there, it just got a little lost on the way.

I started well, I made a list of what I wanted to complete and when (in between screen-shopping and catching up on cyber-chat). It was a rather modest list I thought: apply for a mentor through the WoMentoring Project; submit an award-winning short story to the Bridport Prize; finish off two other stories and complete my collection in time to send it to Jonathan Cape during its open submissions in June; write the first couple of chapters of my novel (for which I have more enthusiasm than notes) in time to apply for a Scottish Book Trust Next Chapter Award.

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So far so good. And then it began to unravel. One word; deadlines.

  • WoMentoring Project – asap
  • Bridport Prize – 31 May
  • Jonathan Cape open submissions – throughout June
  • Scottish Book Trust Next Chapter Award – 16 May

All the initial excitement disappeared beneath a blanket of inertia. There was just too much choice. I simply couldn’t do everything, so instead I did nothing. For several hours. And then several days. Something had to give, but what? I remember I had the same feeling in high school when I was trying to decide what I might like to be ‘when I grew up’ and realised I could do anything (except perhaps win a gold medal at the Olympics or walk on the moon – but even those options didn’t seem completely out of my reach). I had to focus; prioritise.

ImageOver a cup of tea and some banana loaf (bought not made), I decided. Mentoring. It was the obvious next step – I’d done the MLitt, had a couple of early successes, and I now needed help to sharpen up my writing and take the next step.

Hmmmm, maybe I could also apply for an Artists’ Bursary from Creative Scotland, or join NASA’s Astronaut Training Programme. Focus Angela. Focus!