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Procrastination is ruining my life

Dear Mark

I am new to your site. I hope you can advise me.

I work part time in a grocery store which I can't say I like very much. But some years ago I wrote the first rough draft of a novel. I did nothing with it for three years but recently sent it to three publishers just on the off chance. Two of them are really interested and one has offered a considerable advance but I need to rewrite some of it. This is a massive opportunity for me but the weird thing is I just can't seem to get down to work. I have enough time but when I'm not working I surf the net, watch TV and read when I should be working on my novel.

I think it's partly I have a fear of success. My mother in particular has always reinforced the idea that I won't succeed in anything. I think she's always been jealous of me. At 36 I'm scared that I am more comfortable with failure than 'success.' I have always been a terrible procrastinator and find I make up reasons in my head as to why watching TV or putting off work in other ways is somehow going to help me when I know it won't. Please help me.

This question was submitted by 'Nigella P Somerset'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hello Nigella,

Firstly congratulations on having two publishers so interested in your work. Procrastination can be both a manifestation of fear of success and even fear of failure because if we don't try we don't fail. Although of course not even trying can be a kind of failure in itself. Sometimes procrastination is just a habit, a way of putting off hard work. But whatever its cause procrastination can be overcome.

I'm curious how you wrote the first draft of your novel. I suspect you wrote it whilst inspired so that it almost 'wrote itself.' Writers and others artists often perform at their best when they're 'in the zone' just like top sports people.

You know it's a strange thing with parents who constantly undermine. Their influence can lead their offspring to a fear of success-which is generally unconscious. This is a kind of misguided loyalty to the parent - not wanting to 'prove them wrong' about you perhaps.

Your future success will naturally take some getting used to but you will get used to it just as the grub's transformation into butterfly may at first feel uncomfortable or strange but ultimately feels right because it is its rightful destiny. Please also remember that 'success' and 'failure' are relative terms. You work in a grocery store. You are not in jail and support yourself so, from a limited perspective you are a 'success' but of course you want success in the area you are passionate about. I suggest you meditate for 5 minutes every morning on the regret you'd feel if you didn't really go for this. How would you feel in a month, 6 months, a year if you didn't give your book the love it deserves. I'm going to recommend you listen to downloads which are: 'Write that book' (or in your case 'rewrite parts of your book) 'Overcome Procrastination' and 'Overcome Fear of Success'

And lastly Nigella... who are you to deny your future reading public the joy of reading your work ; )

All my best for your successful future,


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - November 19th, 2013 in

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