Pothead, Potato, Pigs, Pussycats, Patchouli, Pat Metheny, Pavlova, Prince, and plenty more.

Raspberry tartLast year around this time, after enjoying a coffee with raspberry-custard tart with my friend Ceri, she asked why I was not continuing with my book.  “What are you doing instead?” she wondered.  The cardinal question.

I wash the dishes.  I walk the dog.  I weed the veggie patch.  I cut away branches along the forest path that annoy me.  I bake scones.  I bake bread.  I cook a lot (hence washing the dishes is oh so essential).  I watch youtube.  I hyperfocus on youtube.  I brush the dog.  I brush the cats.

I did not tell her ALL those things, even though they all kept me away from completing my book, which I desperately wanted to.  Instead, I was stuck in a rut.  Never, ever will I forget (even more so, after what happened to Ceri) what the author Lee Johnson said about a rut in How to escape your comfort zones.

~ The only difference between a rut and a grave
is the depth of the excavation. ~

Ceri, a lovely, understanding woman and soon-to-be-published author of a children’s book exclaimed sympathetically “Oooooh we all do it!  All artists do it.  It’s called skiving!”

Skiving.  A beautiful British word.

She told me what she did to postpone the publication of her book, which out of respect to her I will not repeat here.  She empathised with me, and therefore, sternly, but laughingly, said “Just get on with it!”

“That’s easier said than done,” I protested.

SheBach flower remedy got up, took a piece of paper and wrote ‘Just get on with it!!’ in big letters.  The next day, I outlined her words with a fat marker and stuck it up high above a door where I passed frequently.  That day I looked at her words a few times and thought ‘yeah yeah.’  The day after, I spent hours on the net researching how I could break through my brain fog, just one of many perimenopausal afflictions.  I ordered fish oil capsules, multi-vitamins, and Bach Flower remedies for subliminal support.

Kid you not, by mid September I was full steam ahead into my book and kept it up until January 2nd by which time two dedicated proofreaders had also shared comments which I had worked into the book.  Why did I stop?  Something dawned on me that day.  Something that shook me emotionally so badly that I forgot even how to type. 😉

Tregastel Rocks

Trégastel, Bretagne, France

Back to Ceri.  I had seen an impressive proof copy of her book on a beautiful day on the beach of Trégastel in April.  It was stunning.  Her illustrations reminded me of Dr Seuss books (which pleased her immensely).  At last when I saw her at the end of August she had just ordered the printers to print the book and a book launch in two countries was planned for early October, to which I was invited.

Instead, early October an entirely different event took place, to which I was also invited.  Ceri’s cremation.  After years of struggling with her health, Ceri finally gave up.  The doctors had told her that they could keep her alive, but not cure her.  There were complications.  Although the day that I saw her she looked well and sun bronzed after a beach holiday, she was gravely ill, but hid it.

That’s why today this message to all of you from Ceri, who knew so well that we all procrastinate:

Just get on with it

By no means do I intend to be disrespectful to Ceri and her family, but it is important that I show the readers that this is not a concocted story.  I do not want to put the full link here or show her surname.  It’s in French, because I lived in France then and so did she.  Miss you, friend.

death notice

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Comments on: "Procrastination – an aspiring author’s biggest enemy?" (5)

  1. Condolences!

    Nice writing; I was reading what seemed like another typical writer’s rant about how hard writing is… when you go and completely pull the rug out from under me! Very nice writing!!

    • Well, that is both good and bad. Glad that I was able to take you by surprise, but having pulled the rug from under you can be painful! You make my day nevertheless, thank you. I’ve always imagined telling this story, and what better way than to inspire fellow aspiring writers to stop dawdling before it’s too late (besides needing a good kick in the butt myself – again!)

  2. I have been procrastinating on my book for six months now, which is terrible because I was really on a roll, then I stalled out, and stopped working on it. I guess I’m afraid that nothing will come of it. Or that when I tell people I’m working on a book, they will expect it to actually get published. And it might not. The thing is, I know that many first novels never end up in bookstores. But, every writer has to produce a first novel nonetheless. Your friend’s advice is perfect, and I’m sure she would be glad to know that you shared it with us.

    • She would probably also be flabbergasted to learn how much those words helped me and now, perhaps, also others who are in the same boat. I never got a chance to tell her.

      It had always been my biggest fear: to discontinue writing and then to never get around to finishing it, even to the extent that I stayed in certain places way too long, figuring that a move would interfere with my book goal. But as they say, what you fear you attract…

      Yes, all new authors (and no doubt veterans just as much) are scared that the book will flop once published. But, as I read recently,

      this very fear of failure,
      causes the failure that is feared.

      I feel it would be such a waste of my time (and that of two proofreaders who spent many hours on it also) if I did not complete it and that I must at least do my best to have it published. Or… as I am doing now, look into an alternative. I am rewriting it into a movie script because I’ve always imagined most scenes anyway and held the imaginary conversations (this is such fun!) while I was writing. I do feel I have a lot more passion for that and even made a visual goal for it.

      Perhaps you need to find a way to reconnect with your book that can make you feel enthusiastic again? I find it helps to read snatches from either Writing Fiction or Writing Movies, both by the Gotham Writers’ Workshop – ideal reference books that never fail to motivate. Good Luck and I’d love to hear from you how things are going, either way.

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