Posts Tagged ‘procrastination’

Overcoming Avoidance – Part One, Writing

August 12, 2019

I need a patron saint for procrastinators. My gargoyle of “get going, girl!” hasn’t been doing the job. Oh, I’m getting some things done (note that this blog is posted), but I’m not getting enough done. Perhaps I can’t really call my problem procrastination. If I had an idea where my characters were taking me I’d be writing those scenes, and if I had decided where I wanted to take them I’d have finished the book. There’s a great scene in an episode of Babylon Five where Zathrus says, “Cannot say. Knowing, would say. Do not know, so cannot say.” That pretty much sums up my writing these days. I’m open to suggestions for overcoming avoidance. In the meantime, I will meditate on journeys and hope my characters speak up about the ones they want to take.

Luck and wisdom!

Panic, Procrastination, and Progress

July 15, 2019

I had to get outside my comfort zone a little bit this week. The resulting (mild) panic first made me angry, then got me thinking about plot and character development. I write cozy and comedy, so the tension on my pages can’t ramp up to the level of a crime thriller. My readers know my characters are going to survive (I am writing a series, after all), so tossing in a gratuitous train crash would be silly. I need small tensions that can take my character off the rails temporarily and be funny at the same time, things like the anxiety of creating yet another password (which was one of the things that took me out of my comfort zone). It’s not huge, but it presents a conflict that most readers understand.

Then I read an article about a study which proclaims procrastination is not a moral failure but a response to an unresolved emotional reaction. Well, I could have told you that. I know very well that when I procrastinate about my writing it is because I haven’t dealt with my fear of A) losing the thread of the plot, B) getting wrapped up in a new character to the exclusion of the main ones, or C) having no new story waiting for my attention when the current project is over. Figuring out what I’m afraid of, and acknowledging that even if irrational fear must be faced not suppressed, goes a long way toward getting me back on track.

Rewards help too. Sometimes the reward of finishing the task at hand is enough. Sometimes, I need more. I am quite willing to bribe myself to get to the end of an unpleasant chore (“Self, clean one more room and then you can have an hour of free reading!”), but on occasion I get a reward out of the blue. This week I received a gift from my good friend Margaret Misegades. She found the fabulous addition to my reindeer collection pictured above, and it arrived just when I needed a little pick-me-up.

Moral of the story? I’m not sure. All I know is that finding the reason why I’m panicking or procrastinating is more useful than yelling at myself for not accomplishing more; that I can use whatever insight I might glean to create more nuanced characters; that reindeer are still cool.

Luck and wisdom!

Surprise Blocks

July 25, 2018

Once again, the Unfinished Quilt challenge has shown me my innermost soul. It is cluttered and completely random – my innermost soul, that is, not the challenge. I found these blocks in a bag that was supposed to contain fabric for a wheelchair lap quilt.

The purse collection – don’t ask me why

Why would I think these paper-pieced blocks would work well for a lap quilt, something that would need to be washed often in very hot water? Why would I think they would go well with an orange plaid flannel back, which is the other fabric I found in the bag?

Fortunately, I found some forest fabric in green, yellow, and orange that will go very well with the backing. It will certainly be more appropriate for a lap quilt that will probably be used by more than one person (the project will eventually go to a nursing home). It may have taken me years to finish this quilt, but sometimes it pays to procrastinate.

Luck and wisdom!

Years In The Making

May 23, 2018

 

I found two quilts in that stack in the back of the closet (and I should really be singing that line to “There’s A Hole In The Bottom Of The Sea”) that were finished except for binding. I know they were there for ten years, maybe fifteen. Possibly twenty. Waiting for binding.

I have no memory of making this. It is heavily quilted, and even has back art.

The batting is 100% polyester, which I haven’t used in ages. I bound it in a solid black. I have no idea why I couldn’t make that decision twenty years ago.

I vaguely remember making this quilt. I have no idea why I left it to languish when all I had to do was bind it.

The good news is they are bound now. What happens to them next? Who knows. I will leave you with a song (yes, to the tune of “There’s A Hole In The Bottom Of The Sea”), and I hope with the sense that your own stack of UFOs isn’t really that disgraceful.

There’s a stack in the back of the closet

There’s a stack in the back of the closet

There’s a stack, there’s a stack

There’s a stack in the back of the closet

There’s a quilt in the stack in the back of the closet

There’s a quilt in the stack in the back of the closet

There’s a quilt, there’s a quilt

There’s a quilt in the stack in the back of the closet

There’s a patch on the quilt in the stack in the back of the closet

There’s a patch on the quilt in the stack in the back of the closet

There’s a patch, there’s a patch

There’s a patch on the quilt in the stack in the back of the closet

There’s a bead on the patch on the quilt in the stack in the back of the closet

There’s a bead on the patch on the quilt in the stack in the back of the closet

There’s a bead, there’s a bead

There’s a bead on the patch on the quilt in the stack in the back of the closet

Luck and wisdom!

The Suck It Up, Buttercup Effect

October 11, 2017

I made a public announcement that I would have two (2) quilts ready for our guild’s annual charity donation. The tops were finished, but I still had to quilt and bind them. The deadline is next month, but knowing what a procrastinator I am, I gave myself a stern talk. “Will it be easier to finish the quilts tomorrow, Self? The next day? The next week? What’s wrong with now? Suck it up, Buttercup, and get them done.”

Amazingly enough, it worked. Both are finished.

The Twist-and-Turn pattern is great for making quilts you intend to be used. You can let the fabric do the work.

The backing is made from black and yellow prints like the binding – stars, polka dots and squares.

Here is the binding I used on the cowgirl quilt I showed a couple of weeks ago. It was the only piece in the collection large enough to cut all the strips. Now the quilt is finished and the collection has been reduced to a couple of strips. Mission accomplished.

Luck and wisdom!

Fighting Procrastination

September 13, 2017

I’ve known for ages that I’m pathetic without a deadline. No matter how good my intentions, if there isn’t a date circled on the calendar the project may not get started (much less finished). This year I took a position on the board of my quilt guild, so I’m using that to fight procrastination – and use some of the fabric in my stash – by declaring my intention to make at least two quilts for the guild’s charity drive at Christmas.

Cut patches, ready to sew

I found these cowgirls and some blue squares in a plastic bag on the shelf.

Cut squares, sewn in pairs, multiplying before my eyes

Who knows where they came from, or what I intended to do with them. All I know is that I looked at the bag and said, “Self, you can let these go. Someone else will be much happier with the quilt than you could ever be.” I started with the dimensions the charities prefer and worked backwards. This is the quilt-in-progress.

Cowgirl quilt in progress

I have a gazillion collections of fabric that still appeal to me, but not as much as when I bought them. Having it all languish on my shelf makes no sense when there are plenty of organizations in my community that want quilts. Turning these collections into charity quilts gives me the pleasure of using the fabric without the burden of figuring out what to do with it. I’m also training myself to fight procrastination – a lesson that I need to relearn on a regular basis.

Luck and wisdom!

Ahead of Schedule

April 9, 2014

 

This has been one of those weeks where I check the calendar twice to make sure I haven’t forgotten something. Projects for friendship groups? Check. Deadlines for bills? Check. Short story for anthology submission? Check. The squirrelly part of my brain is chittering, “What are you forgetting? What are you forgetting?”

Until I figure out what I’ve forgotten, I’m collecting fabric for the next projects on the list.

Christmas project, take one

Christmas project, take one

This is the first run at my mother’s Christmas present. She sent me a sample of the colors she wanted. The peach is the right shade, but I’m not sure it is the right print. The luxury of knowing I have time to find a better fabric is worth more than chocolate.

The little scraps will find a home

The little scraps will find a home

The next Challenge project is on the theme of water. I have had this box of sky and water scraps sitting on the shelf for a very long time. It was high on the list of boxes that had to be cleared out. The joy of having one’s procrastination rewarded is almost as wonderful as the luxury of extra time.

Luck and wisdom!

 

Enlightened Procrastination

September 28, 2011

Joseph J. Ellis uses the phrase “enlightened procrastination” in Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation to describe how John Adams kept the infant U.S. from going to war with France by not revealing a series of insults from the French government until time and diplomacy could resolve the issues. It worked for Adams and I believe it can work for quilters.

I stitched the final border of my tile quilt and was looking forward to finding a backing. I showed my husband, and he suggested adding another border. Nothing I had would work, and I still thought the top was done. Then life got in the way of quilting and I put the top aside. I told myself I would go shopping for an appropriate border and if other fabrics leaped off the shelves into my arms, well, who could blame me for bringing some home?

Then mom and I went to the Diablo Valley Quilt show, where the border fabric waited.

Mom likes it, my husband likes it, even the quilt top seems to think it’s the right thing. I haven’t decided on width or mitering, but at least I’m pleased with the project again.

Enlightened procrastination wins once more.