Psychologists look at procrastination as a lack of self-control. Okay, I agree with them there. I admit that my self-control has waned since I retired, and when I look at my list, it's easy to find items that are less important than others.
They also say that creative people--I guess the fact that I write articles and books means I am sort of creative--often say they need large chunks of time to express their creativity. Guilty on that charge too. I have yet to train my mind to work in small increments of time. When I sit down at my computer, I have every intention of writing from the get go, but then my mind begins to wander. Before I know it, I'm on a day dreaming journey into the land of "What if?". What if my main character reacts this way? Or, what if I put another obstacle in the way before this scene? What if a desert setting would be better? While this journey is often fruitful, the time rapidly disappears and my list of priorities takes over.
One final theory is that procrastinating writers are consumed with doubt. Guilty as charged on that one too. I am always wondering why I chose to become a writer. I don't have an educational degree in journalism or literature. I am not a teacher, an official historian, a librarian, or even an artist. There definitely is room for doubt. However, when I really look at who I am, I have to admit that I know a little about a lot of things, and what I don't know, I can easily find out. Then there is the fact that I read almost 2 books every week. I know what kids are reading, and I want to write for them. I have honed my craft through the Institute of Children's Literature and numerous other writing courses. Finally, I am always wondering what could be, and all writers need to have a sense of wonder. I think that the Jewish philosopher, Abraham Joshua Heschel, said it best, "Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge."
So while there are endless theories regarding procrastination, I think it all boils down to asking yourself "What are you waiting for?". Now that I've identified my roadblocks, I am going to work hard on developing self control, limiting my day dreaming journeys, and silencing those doubts (well, for a small block of time anyway). Writing is now moving up the list, and becoming one of my top priorities even if it is only 15 minutes a day. Wish me luck!