As I write this, it’s 1:56 AM on May 1. Loco Mag is publishing its thirtieth issue today–almost every article is prepped and ready to be published. The publication date comes at no surprise to me, and I’ve known about it for well over a month. I’ve gone to countless staff meetings and pitched nothing, while others pitched and crafted one, two, even three pieces. Yet I still sit here, drinking my fourth cup of coffee since 6:30 PM, trying to write something worthy of being published.
I wasn’t always like this, though. In high school, believe it or not, I actually got my work done before the last possible second. In fact, I always finished my work in study hall. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I actually did homework at home. However, as the comfort and structure of high school eroded through the years (wink, wink), saving work till the last possible second became the new norm.
In my defense, I have been busy doing the work I put off earlier in the semester. Take the revision of a paper I was supposed to do for my literature class for example. I turned in the draft February 21. About two weeks later, we got them back and were told we could revise to improve our grade. I finally turned in the revision, which had no official due date, last week, April 27.
You could also look at the journal entries I was supposed to do for another class. We were told on the first day of class (January 18) we would have to write 7500 words in response to 50,000 words of reading. I finally made my first entry on April 14 despite multiple reminders to start. It’s still my only entry.
What was I doing this whole time? Not a clue. Maybe I just really needed two months to prepare myself for these assignments.
One thing I do remember, however, is reading essays and articles about procrastination (yes, I procrastinated by reading about procrastination), namely “Confessions of a Book Reviewer” by George Orwell. He writes,
At present it is half past eleven in the morning, and according to his schedule he should have started work two hours ago; but even if he had made any serious effort to start he would have been frustrated by the almost continuous ringing of the telephone bell, the yells of the baby, the rattle of an electric drill out in the street, and the heavy boots of his creditors clumping up and down the stairs. The most recent interruption was the arrival of the second post, which brought him two circulars and an income-tax demand printed in red. Needless to say this person is a writer.
While I do take solace in that Orwell just described me as a “writer,” the question remains: how did I get here?
Is it that I don’t care? Can’t be. If I didn’t care, I just wouldn’t do it. Is it that I subconsciously hate myself? Hopefully not. Is it that I like confusing and frustrating people by not doing work when I should be doing it? Most definitely not.
So I suppose it remains a mystery, but interestingly enough, the work always gets done. After all, Orwell writes, “And yet curiously enough his copy will get to the office in time. Somehow it always does get there in time.” Still, it’s a habit that must be broken, if not for myself, then for everyone that must work with me.
To the people who have dealt with my procrastination in any way, I apologize. Eventually I’ll get my shit together. Just not today.