Why I’ll always be Queen of the Last Minute

Without the last minute, so the old saying goes, nothing would ever get done. Give me extreme pressure, less time than I actually need, and I’ll whip that deadline into shape. And produce something brilliant. Leave the ending open and the task will hang around tormenting me. And anything I do attempt to produce will be flabby or fall flat (in my mind, anyway).

Who can resist the urge to beat the race against time…? (istockphoto.com/Watcha)

Except I thought I was better than that: I’m a consummate planner, with a social diary that is meticulous and varied, and a work diary that is packed and tightly managed. So why is it that a task comes along that I don’t want to do, and the not-doing the task drains more energy than actually doing the task would.

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task,” says William James.


Here’s another great quote about procrastination: “If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.” Olin Miller

There’s been a mighty hard job hanging around my shoulders over the last three weeks. Not hard in terms of Continue reading

The two decisions I made that helped me finish my novel

Like many writers, I’d been working on a novel for years. The idea for it came into my head, skittered across the page for a while, then exited stage right. I dragged it back on to perform, reluctantly, for many years – and each time it looked more awkward than before, and with increasingly palpable and self-destructive stage fright.

I so wished I had allowed the creative novel-writing impetus more time and space in my life while it was fresh and energetic, rather than cowed and defeated. Six years on – and already six months into the grace period of my extended Creative Writing MA deadline, with very little developmental or restorative work on my manuscript – I was considering asking for another extension.

Except that this time Continue reading