I have been stalled on my book for a while now. I have all the chapters outlined. I actually have the whole thing mapped out in my head. But I have only drafted three chapters. I didn’t know why until this morning.
I thought I was just procrastinating. Enjoying the summer and relaxing. But today, I recognize procrastination is a myth. A mask fear has put on when whispering to me:
I am not procrastinating. I am afraid.
Afraid that if I fail, it means I am not really a writer. Afraid that if my book isn’t immediately seen as a radically necessary read for all humanity, I will be labeled not good enough. Afraid that I the best I can be is a CPA consultant for wealthy companies. I don’t want to be destined for a normal life.
So I stall. I find hundreds of little reasons to not write my book: kids, work, sleep, TV, exercise, time with my wife…anything at all. Even writing a blog post about not writing my book. Anything to keep me from finalizing my book.
Upon recognizing the true face of my procrastination, I spent some time recounting my various fears in prayer to God. His answer is giving me the courage to step up and step into completing my book.
Your greatest fear is that you won’t matter, and that your life will never be more than your day job. This fear is bound in small-minded thinking, and is a lie. You were made in My image, made to be creative. This is true whether one million people buy your book, or only your mom. Share your story. You have gone through your pain to share it with others. So share.
The truth is simple: I will never be more than a CPA consultant if I never finish my book. If I listen to the voice of procrastination and allow fear to rule me, nobody will ever know what else I have to offer. So, I will begin again. I am going to stop procrastinating. I will get down to the business of moving the outline from my laptop.
Now it’s your turn: Is fear masquerading as procrastination in your life?
Fear likes to hide itself doesn’t it! Really hard because it’s mind game especially if you rationalize things. Pressfield calls this “the resistance”. Might need to revisit War of Art or Do the Work (love that one even more than War of Art) to get some momentum.
I KNOW you have the content for this book. It can and will be great. Define your success–I know you want to help people. Would you write it just to help ONE person? I think you would.
Write it with that one person in mind your–IR (ideal reader–think I stole this from Stephen King).
Great read, Chris! It appears that fear has oh so many faces. I’m guilty of procrastinating all the time. Sadly, I set myself up for failure by keeping distracting apps on my phone. I call it productivity because it helps me to engage with my Challenge groups & team of entrepreneurs but I know I must focus & take inventory of my hours better. Thanks for the reminder. Finish that book 🙂
I thought I had to clean up the dog barf first. But, really, I am afraid to finish my book. I am not procrastinating I am afraid.
I did the EXACT same thing with my book Chris! Wrote the first three chapters and then let it sit convinced it was horrible. Months later, after watching an inspiring movie, I sent the chapters to a publishing company and told God if it got rejected, that was it. It was accepted and is now for sale “everywhere books are sold.” I experienced all sorts of fear and called it all sorts of things…but eventually God helped me to keep moving forward. You can do it!
Pamela, I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or not. Are you poking fun at me?
I am going to finish my book this month. Writing this post was a way of making myself accountable for realizing what was really holding me back, so that I can push through it. Thanks so much for the uplifting words!
Whoa, whoa, whoa…….I was NOT talking about how my phone impacts my productivity! 🙂
I’m glad I was able to help you realize the hitches in your creative process, Rob
That’s great! Sometimes that little push is all you need.
Jim, thanks for being a good friend. Always pushing me to get through my stalls and get my best work out there.
Great post, Chris. I look forward to reading your book!
Hey Chris, Thanks for sharing. I have only started the 1st chapter of my book. But, one day at a time, one word at a time and eventually we will get finished. I too, get distracted by many good things (even reading other people’s blogs about procrastinating – lol). It’s all in God’s timing!! He has the perfect time for the launch of your book and He is preparing you for it each day!! Keep writing!! Thanks! Have a blessed day! Brenda
Well said. I too wonder what my procrastination is about and this is a great insight into an aspect of it for sure!
Do keep writing it is obvious you have something to say.
Brother, it amazes me in a weird way sometimes how our train of thought rides the same tracks. I am thinking about this topic today too! You really put it into words in a way that helps me think deeper, with greater understanding. Well done
Ps Chris, you have the greatest potential for a life changing book among all the writers I know. I will be first in line
This is a good reminder for me today Chris. Thank you for that. Hour by hour sometimes, I need reminders that I’m not alone. Admitting that I’m afraid isn’t the end, its really the beginning…
Just read your post this morning. I love the way we can become each other. I loved your spin on procrastination: http://www.ipaintiwrite.com/2013/07/01/it-is-time-to-organize-my-vitamins-and-delay-finishing-again/
You have some real wisdom there Josh.
* We are not alone.
* Admitting fear is the beginning.
Maybe you should have written this post. 🙂
WOW! What an amazing PS! You just made my July with your confidence in me
For me, the procrastination giant rises up big and ugly and hairy whenever I realize I am built for more than just blogging, and try to do something about it.
Laura, if you figure out what else is producing your procrastination, I’d love to hear about it. I know there are so many things that get in the way of us doing the stuff that matters most to us
I totally agree about God and timing. At the same time, there is definitely a part for me to play. I think I stray from my part due to so many distractions.
I hope you don’t write a blog on procrastination, because then I will have to read that too, instead of writing 🙂
Really good post. For me, sometimes the way I overcome fear and what-ifs is to just start, even of that means writing 100 words. Thanks for this encouragement!
thanks for the push
I found this post through the Start Experiment on Facebook, and I can relate to all of it. I have put off writing myself because I’ve been afraid. I get so caught up in everything beyond actually writing, like whether people will like my stories or blog or whatever, that I cannot write. I saw something today that said your worst stuff written is still better than your best stuff never written. That is so true. I am trying to focus now on just writing, getting my thoughts out, and trusting God with the rest. Even if I am never published or I am and people hate my writing, I am a writer, doing what God made me to do. Writing is your passion, allow God to use it to help you discover your purpose. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by from the Start Experiment–maybe I will see you around my little part of the Internet a bit more often 🙂
It is so difficult to stay focused on the task of writing, when there are so many distractions, fear among them. We have to keep reminding ourselves to keep pushing and just plain write.
That is good advice. Just write, no matter what
You’re welcome, Chris. And I will add your FB page so I can keep up with where your writing takes you. It is difficult, but I know writing is what keeps me alive, keeps me going, so I am trying to make it more of a priority.
Chris, you have a God given talent! Go for it! I’m rowing in the same boat with you!
oh Chris… you have said this so so well… and it is the echo of so many of our souls.. fear captivates, hold prisoner and tightens the lasso around our shoulders to keep us from moving forward.
longing with you for less ordinary and more out of the ordinary… and we keep writing.
Thanks for sharing my pain and procrastination
Well you could not have fallen into the start Experiment at a more perfect time!
Stephanie Pitcher Fishman
Yes! It’s masquerading as procrastination and distraction. I get locked into a cycle of becoming distracted with all of the other tasks that I “must” do so that I don’t feel like I’m procrastinating – but I really am. I’m forcing myself outside my safe zone and into action this month little by little. Thanks for putting into words what I’m truly fighting. We need to just take the jump and go.
Sometimes calling a thing what it is helps to identify what to do about it.
Stephanie Pitcher Fishman
Exactly! Merry Christmas, Chris!
Merry Christmas Stephanie