IF there were an exam in Procrastination I would get a distinction. No problem.
Whatever I'm supposed to be doing, something else crops up and takes my attention. Is the kitchen looking as if a tornado has swept through it during the night? Then I'm at my keyboard typing away and catching up on social media before I've even removed the double-strength bleach from the cupboard.
Should I be writing? Then I'm going through the kitchen like a possessed cleaning fairy - tidying, scrubbing and polishing.
I've always been the same. I was quite good at school but only because I have a retentive short-term memory. The weeks when I should have been revising for exams I was playing tennis and hockey, polishing up my social skills with the boys and reading trashy novels. Just before the exam, though, and I was burning the midnight oil, cramming facts and formulae into my poor old brain.
It worked for me, in a fashion. The exams would arrive and I could regurgitate all the facts, draw my conclusions and arrange them all into a well-reasoned paper. But as soon as the exam was over. Gone. Five minutes ago I knew all about the Treaty of Versailles, now it's "What treaty?"
Because this method served me so well, I never changed. Thrown out into the real world I got a job as a newspaper reporter. This was ideal. I had to work to very strict deadlines so there was no time for deviation. No editor I ever had would have accepted any excuse for a story being filed late. (You broke your leg on the way to work? You still have the other one. Hop. And what do you think telephones are for?) I worked for newspapers for more than 30 years in various jobs - all had deadlines that had to be adhered to.
Now, however, I am mainly freelance with the odd week back on newspapers for holiday and sickness cover. Left to my own devices I was soon back in the old, old routine. I sat in front of my laptop, a long list of "things to do" beside me. I'd start an article and have to look something up on the internet. Half an hour later I'd still be surfing away. You wouldn't think there was a logical progression from the Battles of World War One to a video tour of a house for sale in the Kazakhstan, but I managed it.
But I am changing I have come to realise that procrastination just isn't going to cut it if I am going to find any success as a freelance writer.
I have become my own boss and this boss is STRICT.
- I have another blog in the A to Z Challenge called That's Purrfect.