I’ve told you before that not all procrastination is bad.
I meant it.
Sometimes, you need to put certain things off. Not because you’re lazy, or because you’re avoiding the possibility of failure (though those are very real possibilities for many people).
Sometimes we put things off because it isn’t the right time.
At the beginning of 2017, I did what I do every December/January — I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish in the coming year.
There are many things on this list I’m not going to accomplish before the year ends. Including a few key projects I still desperately want to set in motion as soon as possible.
I haven’t yet. For a few reasons. The biggest one being that I’ve been in the process of moving for about six months (long story), and there’s only so much you can do when you have to deal with … well. That.
I’ve felt guilty and anxious about not starting one project in particular this entire year. Because I’m very aware that fear has played a small part in my refusal to get started until I’m officially settled into my new space (with my own office!!!!!).
But then I realized something.
I’ve been coming up with a lot of ideas in the past six months.
And I mean …. A LOT.
I did not expect that my procrastination, regardless of the reason, would actually benefit me in some weird yet amazing way.
Not allowing myself to be too busy freed up room in my brain for more ideas — and allowed me more time to think through those ideas.
Now I’m more confident than ever that I’m almost in the exact place I need to be (literally and figuratively) to make this/these project(s) work. I’ve had so much time to think deeply about where I want them to go that I’m now itching to get started.
Putting things off isn’t helpful when you’re doing it simply because you’re scared or you’re willing to give in to your lame excuses.
But sometimes, jumping straight into a creative endeavor without thinking it through first also isn’t the best idea. Sometimes, giving yourself time to think can be good for you, creatively.
I’m someone who doubts the validity of many of the ideas I come up with from week to week. So to say that I’m confident and excited about something that doesn’t exist yet is a pretty big deal.
You should never say never because you’re not “confident” enough to do something.
But if you legitimately feel like there are things in your life that have to take priority over a creative project, don’t feel like you always have to put every new idea first. Don’t be afraid to let your new ideas sit idly in your head for awhile. No one’s going to take them away from you. They’re not going to disappear.
Who knows — you might even find yourself more motivated to get started than you were when you first came up with the original idea.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.