By Dr. Paula Bloom
For many years clients have been taking notes in therapy sessions. I’d be talking and a client would interrupt with, “Oh, wait a second, I need to write that down before I forget.” This not only happened in sessions but would also happen during a casual conversation at a grocery store, talking with a fellow passenger on the plane or sitting with a friend over coffee. (This has never seemed to happen, however, with my family!)
After years of realizing that people were listening to what I had to say and wanted to write it down for future reference it occurred to me that I needed to write a book. Write a book? What a daunting task. The truth is, I’ve never been that interested in being a writer. I’m way more comfortable speaking. I enjoy speaking to audiences, both on TV and in person. I’ve had so many people say to me “How can you be on live TV, I would totally freak out?” For whatever reason, I enjoy it.
So, fast forward to last week. For over a year I’ve been working on a book about relationships. It comes out Spring of 2012. Right now I can see the faint light emanating from the end of the tunnel. Several times a week I’m in touch with my coauthor and editor. We are down to the wire and I couldn’t be happier. Well, I could be — the darn thing could be totally done.
Last week I had a photo shoot in order to update my press pictures, take an author photo and take some pictures for the book cover. Not only did I spend a lot of time prepping for the photo shoot, but at the same time was trying to make yet another deadline to complete revisions requested by my editor. At times I was really focused on the writing but at other times I was focused on avoiding the writing. What was my preferred procrastination technique? Obsessing about what to wear, right down to my shoes. Shocking, right?
I’m embarrassed to tell you how much time I spent googling author photos. Seriously. The irony that I was taking pictures for a book cover while avoiding finishing said book was not lost on me (or my husband, for that matter). Ultimately, the photo shoot went well. The picture I’ve included in this blog post is just a rough sample from the shoot. When I posted this picture on Facebook I got almost 50 responses from friends. Most of them were very positive. Of course, like many of us, I focused on the few comments I received that weren’t so supportive. Thus a new procrastination focus emerged: Worrying about what others thought of this sample picture.
Our minds are quite resourceful, aren’t they? Thankfully, I am back on track with writing. I’m leaving the country next week (not to escape my editor, I’ve had this trip planned for years) so I’m on a strict deadline. I plan on having a razor-sharp focus. Nothing will deter me from getting this done.
I wonder how full-time writers handle these thing. Huh, maybe I should do some research on how writer’s deal with impending deadlines? What advice could they offer me on staying focused, doing the work and not making excuses? Could be useful information. Maybe I should google that.
The Shoes Shrink loves her Born wedges. Photo: Clint Alexander.