I would add a title now, but there’s always later…

I made a claim in one of my blog posts before that I am the queen of procrastination. Now, a lot of people say that they are the worst procrastinator, but here is how bad I have it: in the midst of writing my re-purposing sketch draft, rough draft, this blog post, and reading copious amounts of academic writing, I stopped doing everything to calculate how many papers I have written so far in my college career. The answer is 45. I have written 45 full-blown papers; this is excluding blog posts, Ctools forums posts, or other writing assignments. That means that I have not once, not twice, but on 45 different occasions waited until the night before a paper was due to start writing it (but let’s be honest, it’s more like the morning of).

Why must I do this to myself? You would think that at some point I would have the conversation with myself saying, “Hey Louise, you know you really aren’t doing anything this weekend, maybe you should do some work?” to which I should reply to myself, “Hey self, that’s a phenomenal idea and I am going to do that so I’m not stressed out!”

But then there are these things called Netflix and sleeping that suck me in and hinder me from being productive. While I wish that I were the type of person who could sit down a week before an assignment is due and crank it out, I’m also kind of at peace with my procrastination. And I mean, I only went home for spring break to Grand Rapids, but did I even touch an assignment? No way, man. I sure told myself I would, but I guess I live my academic life by the motto “there is always tomorrow,” which works well until you run out of “tomorrows.”

I honestly am okay with my terrible habits; I’m not looking for sympathy because I knowingly do this to myself every time there is a project to be done or a paper to be written. I actually take great pride in what I am able to pull off. To explain, here is a Facebook status from this past December:Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 2.05.50 AM

While I might sound a little arrogant in this post, I was more amazed at the kind of dark magic that must have been pulsing through my veins during that all-nighter. But it just leaves me asking myself again, why do I do this? I can literally only write when I have a severe time crunch.

I don’t know if other people can relate, but to me, I only have good ideas when I don’t have the time to over think things. I suppose when I write I take the “go big or go home” mentality, and when you only have a couple hours to write a paper, you pull out all the stops. I also think that by having this pressure, I don’t write as stiffly. If I think about something too much when I’m writing, I really lose my voice and personality.

Also, I cannot tell a lie, writing a paper under pressure is sooooo much more fun than having weeks to do it. If there are any How I Met Your Mother Fans out there, I always say “Challenge Accepted” to my teachers who warn, “don’t wait until the night before to start this assignment.” And when I turn that bad boy in after an all-nighter filled with self-loathing, I feel invincible, and like I want to take a nap.

What I’m trying to say is that I do a poor job of being a writer. This whole drafting thing— it’s not really my style, but that’s probably because I never give myself enough time to write a draft if it isn’t required of me. Maybe my writing habits will change when I get older and wiser. And when I say “maybe” I actually mean that there is absolutely no chance that I will ever break the chain of procrastination. At least I’m realistic.

4 thoughts to “I would add a title now, but there’s always later…”

  1. Louise,

    It’s essentially like you wrote out everything that goes through my mind whilst writing as well. I really do think I match you on your scale of procrastination…on the note of How I Met Your Mother, I watched exactly 19 episodes on the Monday evening before our repurposing draft was due (dammit Netflix – as if I haven’t already seen every episode a million times before).

    There is also complete validity to your point that writing flows more naturally and easily during a time crunch. If I attempt to write at any point too far in advance of a due date, I end up on Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, online shopping, etc… (and then I rinse and repeat). But if I know I have less than 12 hours to start and finish an assignment, I sit down with a large cup of caffeine and create writing that flows since it’s all in one sitting and mindset, and energetic because I’m just SO hyped up when I burn that midnight oil. I don’t think it makes you arrogant to be proud of accomplishing so much in one night. I think it takes a special type of person to rock the all nighters and still produce something worthwhile.

    Keep rocking your procrastination, and I’ll do the same, and we can complain about our exhaustion in class some more!

  2. Hey Louise,
    I, and I assume most everyone else in our class, can undoubtedly relate to the procrastination chain. It’s an inevitable part of life. I am always amazed by people who can begin working on a project the day that it’s assigned. My own motto seems to be, “I don’t even want to think about it right now.”
    The best writing seems to be done under a time crunch because we don’t have time to think that what we’re writing is bad and start over a million times. Whatever comes out, we have to run with it. I don’t think that this means that we’re doing a poor job of being writers, though, it just means that there are circumstances under which we work better.
    So keep doing you, and use the procrastination to your advantage!

  3. Hi Louise,

    I, too, strongly dislike and avoid the drafting process. The more I edit something, the more I feel as if I am removing myself and my voice. But at 2am the night before something is due, my voice is fully there, yelling and screaming for me to keep going.

    I think people like us work best when the need is there. It’s not really a choice at that point; you literally HAVE to write SOMETHING. And that something usually ends up being more interesting and honest than if it had been written two weeks earlier.

    I firmly believe that you shouldn’t try to fix something that isn’t broken; procrastination seems to be working for you!

  4. Hey,
    So when I first read your title, I was definitely drawn in to the post. There is something about a facebook status that not only makes me want to cry a little for the trauma you must have experienced, but at the same time celebrate your accomplishments. Anyway, as someone who works very hard to not wait until the last second to write a paper, this put some things into perspective. First of all, I agree. When I start trying to outline a paper a few weeks before it is due, I over think everything. I go from thesis to thesis and question and second guess literally everything I had originally thought about that topic. So I can see how if you have no time to eat while writing a paper, there really isn’t any time to second guess yourself. And that can definitely be a benefit. However, after stewing about a topic for a week or so and absorbing myself in the material for longer than a night, I think I can see things that are otherwise hidden at first glance. You get one thought and that leads to another and another and soon, you have an idea. And while that idea is completely different from you original musings, it’s something new and innovative and fresh. And let me be clear: this comment is not to tell you to stop procrastinating. It seems you are well aware of your situation and are making it work to your advantage. This is just to offer the new perspective that you gave me into an extremely common phenomenon to us as college students. Overall, great post. It was really engaging and well-written.

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