Aspirations and Procrastination

I was listening to a podcast the other day on minimalism featuring an interview with Joshua Fields Milburn, one half of the famed Minimalists duo with Ryan Nicodemus, and he said something that stuck in my head: “Aspire is a synonym for procrastinate.”

In my last post, I admitted that I had gone so long without writing anything more than a grocery list that I felt like I’d forgotten the craft.  I still told people that I wrote, but more along the lines of dabbling or a hobby.  Hearing Milburn’s interview made me wonder whether or not I became a merely aspiring writer, posing instead of doing.

The answer was, “Um, yes, definitely.”

Since I had my epiphany, I’ve resolved to move forward in my writing daily.  Nice and vague, ain’t it?

When you’ve been off the page for a while, any forward momentum is good.  Drafting, yes, but it can be editing and compiling notes for a new project.  The only time I would step away from a project is when taking a break after finishing a draft before looking at it with an eye towards revision.

Right now, I’m developing two novel projects.  I also have a day job.  I try to make time for a personal life, and then there’s general adulting.  I have a daily Post-It note with my most urgent tasks, and I always include one item for each project.  Then, when I plan out my day, I’ll go through my calendar and carve out an hour or two for each.  This is actually part of a larger system I use to keep productive (I’ll go over it another time).

The point is getting those two items done is another step in a thousand-mile journey.  Sometimes I don’t get both done in a day.  Either something urgent comes up, or I get delayed with another task, or I get more engrossed in one project over the other.  That’s fine.  Making daily progress is important, but it’s equally important not to beat yourself up when you stumble here and there.  If you do, you’re going to discourage yourself too easily.

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