A Useless Skill

I’m an expert procrastinator. That isn’t a good thing, it’s just a fact.

I don’t like to call myself the “do it the night before it’s due” procrastinator, but I think that’s what my friends and family would say. To be clear I’ve never done an assignment from scratch the night before, I’d always have the bones of it ready, sometimes a bit of meat. But I’d typically fill it out the night before, make the final edits, make sure everything sounded right just before I clicked submit.

Today I had two short story submissions due, one for a magazine and one for a contest. I managed to write the story on Saturday and finish it Sunday, submitting it just shy of twenty-four hours before the due date. The other I still haven’t completed, though it’s due tonight at midnight. I consider the story done, though I know I’ll probably look at it again when I finish work and fix something else I thought was fine yesterday. I’ll format it in manuscript style (whatever that is, can you tell I’m new here?) and wait.

I do try to plan ahead, I have a planner just for writing. I try to write in the deadlines, organize some sort of schedule of what projects to work on and on which days, but things change. Sometimes a different story is buzzing around or an old one wants to be added too. Regardless, I do try to have things done early, to plan but as my friends and family will say, my brand of organization is a type of chaos. But at least I can navigate it.

Deadlines are good, and when working on an assignment for school I’ve never missed one. I never needed an extension, I always had my assignments finished on time. My biggest motivation for this was that if I didn’t submit it on time it would be late (and I am not a late person in any sense of the word) and most importantly it I would lose marks on it if it was late, which wasn’t an option. Deadlines are harder for me now with writing because there isn’t a consequence, at least none that affect me as much as a lost mark would. If I don’t submit a story to a magazine or contest by the deadline than it just isn’t read it just sits on my laptop doing nothing. That should be a consequence in itself, but it just means it doesn’t get read, and I already write expecting no one to read it but myself so what’s the difference?

I don’t know how I’ll motivate myself to stick to my deadlines, though I’m sure the procrastination will stay no matter how hard I try to keep myself away from it. I don’t know what type of consequences to set, if giving myself a consequence would even motivate me or hinder me in a way I haven’t thought of.

So here’s a project I’m giving myself, one that combines my procrastination and keeps me writing and may end up completely blowing up in my face. I’ve always wanted to participate in Inktober, a kind of NaNoWriMo for artists, that gives a prompt to draw every day for the month of October. Well I’m certainly not an illustrator, but I thought it could be fun to turn into a type of Flash Fiction challenge, little stories or writings of some sort with the theme of each day.

I found Winklebeebee’s Inktober Challenge on Instagram and am going to take a stab at it. I don’t know how it will all turn out, but it will be an experience either way.

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