A Tiny Mountain

Procrastination is such a strange thing. I hate it, but I can’t resist it. Unless I already did.

It’s so difficult to avoid, but at the same time so easy. During the last few years, I have done two kinds of personal creative projects. I’ve written small blog posts such as this, and I’ve composed music in a vaguely classical style. There have also been other half-baked ideas that haven’t gotten anywhere at all.

I think about blog ideas and musical ideas all the time, and only a small fraction of those potential productions ever become real. Part of it is that I just don’t have the time, but even when I do have time I turn to passive consumption all too often. This isn’t unusual or strange at all. What does seem strange to me is how little is required to get past that first hurdle, and how difficult it still manages to be.

When I think to myself that I should write, or make some music, I recoil. I make excuses, tell myself that this is not the best time, I’m tired and need to rest and indulge myself a little, I’ll write later. So nothing happens.

But if I can just get myself to open up a file and write that thought down properly, or just take a look at that fugue exposition I’ve been working on, I’ll begin to tinker. Can’t help myself. And I can’t stop until something pulls me away. The obsession to make excuses instantly turns into an obsession to make just one more change.

This is a decent draft of a small post. It took less than 15 minutes to write. It doesn’t have to be hard or forbiddingly time-consuming. There just seems to be some small error in our minds that make them behave this way, and there should be some small way of fixing it; the mental equivalent of kicking a car that won’t start.

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4 thoughts on “A Tiny Mountain

  1. This type of inertia is an issue for me as well. For me, the most effective tactic for overcoming it is to force myself to do the preliminary first steps which don’t actually require any kind of deep thinking. For instance, get WordPress open, start a new draft, maybe even choose a title for the post and/or subsections and put them in. I can force myself to do these things with the promise that I won’t actually have to use any mental energy. But once I’ve done that and have the start of a post up on my screen, it’s a lot easier for me to get the willpower to start doing the actual work.


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