Always Working On The Wrong Thing: Guilt, Fear & Procrastination

Always Working On The Wrong Thing: Guilt, Fear & Procrastination

Okay, so you may have noticed that I haven’t started blogging regularly like I said I would. God knows I’ve certainly noticed that. And Not-Blogging may not have killed me yet, but I’m not feeling great about it, either.

This is symptomatic of a larger problem. As I alluded to in that previous post, I haven’t really been doing any real writing so far this whole calendar year. As you might guess, this is . . . . kind of messing me up, a little. I’m not doing the thing that I was designed to do, and that’s not the healthiest place to be in.

What’s the problem, here? Why am I not writing?

A good part of it is just . . . lethargy, depression, a general lack of energy and drive. That’s something I’m trying to work on, mainly with changing my diet and getting some damn exercise every once in a while. Slow progress, incremental steps.

The real problem is analysis paralysis.

Wikipedia defines analysis paralysis as:

. . . . the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change if a major problem arises. A person might be seeking the optimal or “perfect” solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, when on the way to a better solution.

In my case, the decision that I’m constantly over-thinking is, which of my projects “should” take precedence at any given moment?

My actual current projects include:

  • This blog
  • My podcast (which is actually going well, largely because someone else is involved in it)
  • A funny (hopefully funny) urban fantasy thriller novel that I started two years ago that’s, I dunno, 20%-40% finished
  • Post-production effects work on a science-fiction webseries that finished principal photography two years ago

Projects that I’ve been thinking about a lot include:

  • A science-fiction comedy webseries
  • A found-footage horror webseries
  • A found-footage horror feature film
  • A sequel to Still Life
  • A light-hearted young adult superhero novel (or series of novels)
  • A new novel idea that popped into my head, like, two days ago, that I think has serious series potential
  • A Doctor Who fan film

That’s just off the top of my head. I’m sure there are others I’m not thinking of right now.

Let’s talk about that last one. That’s the one that I have the hardest time figuring out if it should be my highest priority or my lowest priority. On the one hand, it’s a project that I’ve been working on props and ideas for since I was fifteen years old, I have a tremendous amount of passion for it, and honestly, if I came down with a fatal illness tomorrow, not making that damn film would probably be my biggest dying regret. So, it’s a big deal, right?

But . . . .  The nagging little voices set in, telling me that it’s just a folly, that by definition I can’t make any money on it and so therefore it isn’t a real project, right? It’s not professional, and I should be working on something that will actually be part of my career. Okay. Fine.

On the professional front, the two big ones that loom over me are the novel-in-progress and the theoretical Still Life sequel. Two seemingly equally valid arguments bounce back and forth in my head:

  1. You should be working on the novel-in-progress. It only makes sense to finish what you’ve already started before working on something else
  2. You should be working on the Still Life sequel. All your research says that writing books in series is the key to self-publishing success. It only makes sense to work on the series where you already have one finished book under your belt.

Both of these make sense. Each argument perfectly counterbalances the other.

And so I end up doing nothing. I can’t make myself work on any one project, because whenever I’m about to, I think, “how can you be working on this when you have these other things to do?”

Something’s gotta give.




Photo by jepoirrier