Debra Mullins

Day 19 of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway: What Do You Procrastinate About Doing?

Congratulations to Janie McGaugh, who won yesterday’s drawing! I’ll be emailing Janie to arrange delivery of her choice of book. This is Janie’s second win, so she’ll be put in our Hall of Fame.

I’ve decided to add something to my giveaway. The last post of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway is January 31. On February 1, I will not only pick the name of the winner from those who commented on the January 31 blog post, but I will be doing a special drawing from everyone who ever commented on the blog, including the Hall of Famers. Three winners will be eligible to win both a book and a $15 gift card! I’m looking forward to that one. 🙂

Now I’d like to move on to today’s subject: procrastination.

I have revisions sitting on my desk for my upcoming paranormal, Heart of Stone. It’s the second in my new Atlantis trilogy. Today I have to get going on these or else they won’t get in on time. I’ve had the manuscript printed out and sitting on my desk (the better to edit it) for over a week. Several times I’ve come into my office and sat in my chair with the intention to get going, but something has come up each time to stop me. I can’t help but wonder if that is a valid excuse, or if I am procrastinating.

It’s been said that procrastination comes from that part of our brain that tries to protect us from bad things. Humans are usually motivated by either the pursuit of pleasure or the avoidance of pain. Pleasure can be anything from those candies you love to the satisfaction of a job well done. Pain can be physical, but it can also be emotional.

I know that when I dive into this book, my emotions will be engaged in the story. That’s the good thing. The author putting emotion on the page is what makes the books you love to read so compelling. The painful part comes when I’m deep into the story and I get interrupted by some outside force—a knock on the door, the phone ringing, a text message making my cell phone chime. I get ripped out of the story, and it hurts. I believe my procrastination is coming from that—the avoidance of that pain.

The only way to get around procrastination is to consider what happens if you don’t do what you are procrastinating about. Basically, a greater evil.

Let’s say you’re procrastinating about paying the bills. You know money will be tight this month, and you don’t want to deal with it because it makes you stressed to face that reality. You keep putting it off until tomorrow…then the tomorrow after that, and the one after that. You are temporarily putting off that pain you don’t want to feel.

But let’s take it a step further. What happens if you don’t pay the bills? You start getting hate mail from your creditors, your utilities get turned off, and you get evicted because you didn’t pay the rent. Isn’t that worse than the sinking feelings you get when you have to face that checkbook where the math just isn’t adding up in your favor?

If you think about that outcome, suddenly facing those bills doesn’t seem so bad.

In my case, if I put off working on my revisions, the manuscript will go in late, my editor will not be happy with me, and the publication of the book may be delayed. It’s the second of a trilogy, and the first book, Prodigal Son, came out this past October. Heart of Stone is already coming out exactly a year later than the first one, so the release date getting pushed even further out is bad news for sure. You’re a reader. You know that when you get hooked on a series, you want those books coming out as closely together as possible.

What about you? What do you procrastinate about, and how can you get past whatever is holding you back? What’s the worst case scenario? Those who comment get entered in today’s drawing for a free paperback title from my backlist!