Procrastination: A Refresher Course

My favorite form of procrastination is cultivating hobbies. Lately I’ve started sewing. Not with a sewing machine, like a normal person. No, I’ve decided I want to learn how to quilt by hand. This is probably not one of my better ideas.

I don’t really know how to sew. In the last year, I’ve borrowed two different sewing machines from two different people and have been utterly baffled by how to use either one of them. I seem to be unable to make a straight seam with a machine. My seams always wander. So, armed with a needle and thread and a bunch of fat quarters of predominantly pink fabrics, I’m teaching myself how to sew. And I don’t even really like pink.

Because I’m me, that means I had to buy a book. Actually, I already owned two books about quilting, one of which inspired in me the desire to make a quilt. After this happened, I bought all the fabric and borrowed the first sewing machine. Then I returned it to its owner and borrowed the second, the learning curve for which I determined to be well above the length of my attention span. So, on one of my biweekly trips to Barnes and Noble, I discovered “Handsewn: the essential techniques for tailoring and embellishment” by Margaret Rowan. This book promptly came home with me and has been hanging out on my footstool with the quilting books.

Proving that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, I immediately tried to decide on a project that wouldn’t test my limited sewing abilities too much. But what to make? Finally, I decided on the one thing an obsessive reader can never have too many of: bookmarks. I picked the perfect size – 2 by 6 inches, chose my fabrics – one for the front, one for the back, making the bookmark reversible. That’s when the swearing started.

The bottom line is that a week later I have completed exactly one bookmark, but I have procrastinated on writing projects for seven days. So, if there’s a writing project you’re trying to put off, I suggest you try out a new hobby. One thing I learned from this experience is that writing is easy by comparison. Now that I am sick of sewing (For the moment. I know I’ll come back to it soon), I’m reading that first draft of my novel manuscript and I have edited and polished a couple short stories that I am hoping to enter in writing competitions.

Since July, I have been a “full time” writer. By that I mean I am not working due to a severe injury to my lower back. I decided then to put forth the effort to do something I have always wanted to do – complete a novel. With the first draft finished after a lot of days in a row of concentrated effort, I believe my brain needed a nice break, hence the sewing-procrastination week. Now I’m back to writing, feeling refreshed and open-minded. Time to start the next novel, I think.


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