One of my favorite things to do is to wake up really early on the weekends when the rest of my family is still sleeping. I walk down to the kitchen, take our dog Murph out, pour my coffee, and tiptoe up to my office.
Early mornings are my sacred time to do deep thought work while the house is quiet and still, and before my loves wake up excited for their day to begin. "MOM... will you make me pancakes?"... "Can I invite a friend over?" or "Babe, what time do you want to go for our walk?" Being able to ease into a busy family day with a full cup and some time to think, reflect, and write is important to me, a daily practice that I established as a doc student years ago.
My morning ritual keeps me centered and I start every day feeling like I have accomplished something.
Every morning I do a thought download and write my goals out while quietly sipping my coffee, and remind myself of all that I am grateful for as I write in my gratitude journal. I take my morning walk, then I read or write for an hour.
This morning, I was working on my next project, a three-week writing intensive for moms who are juggling multiple competing priorities, and struggling to make progress on their dissertation or thesis. I've been trying to come up with a name for my new project and began searching for some inspiration.
Back in 2014, I read the book "Consolations... the Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words" by David Whyte. When I was writing my own dissertation, I found that reading books was one of my favorite forms of procrastination. If you are a word lover like me, you would love this book. What's really great about this book, is that you can read it here and there, a few pages at a time and it will undoubtedly ignite thought and reflection.
The author writes 3-5 pages describing words that we use every day and the results are beautifully inspiring. Since I have been stuck searching for the right name, I opened the book back up for inspiration. I leafed through to find David's thoughts on the word "Procrastination" and it resonated so much with me, that I really wanted to share it with you.
I've spent the last few weeks interviewing non-traditional female doc students who are in the process of completing their dissertations, but who are having a hard time gaining traction and making progress. I've been learning about their pain points, and interviewing them has catapulted me right back to when I was them... I was that woman trying to get my shit together as a wife, mom, daughter, friend, colleague, and doc student. I finished my dissertation feeling overwhelmed, isolated, and alone and vowed that when I finished, I was going to make it my mission to help other women like me. I'm a woman on a mission to help women make progress and finish. Though this journey, I try to find ways I can spread the love and help women who do not have the financial means or who are stuck but do not necessarily need or are not ready for private dissertation coaching.
ALL of the women I interviewed have struggled in some form or another with procrastination, and usually, there is some self-loathing and embarrassment associated with it. We've been taught that procrastination is a negative, undesired trait, but what I'm here to share with you today, is that procrastination is a critical piece of the writing process for many of us.
So I want to share Whyte's words with you. You may need to re-read a few times to fully appreciate them, but he provides such a peaceful way to come to terms with the beauty in the process.
"What looks from the outside like our delay; our lack of commitment; even our laziness may have more to do with a slow, necessary ripening through time and the central struggle with the realities of any endeavor to which we have set our minds." He further describes procrastination, "Procrastination when studied closely can be a beautiful thing, a parallel with patience, a companionable friend, a revealer of the true pattern, already caught within us; acknowledging for instance, as a writer, that before a book can be written, most of the ways it cannot be written must be tried first, in our minds; on the blank screen on the empty page or starting at the bedroom ceiling at four in the morning. Procrastination enables us to understand the true measure of our reluctance."
We think we are procrastinating, but we are thinking about the dissertation constantly... working through arguments in our minds, thinking through theoretical frameworks and prior research while we tie in what we know to make new connections. Generating original thought is time-consuming and can't be rushed. Establishing a daily writing process, even if it is messy, even if the thoughts are not quite as articulate as they could be, can make it easier to keep track of your thought process, extrapolating them from that beautiful mind of yours.
It's all part of the process, my dear friend. Be gentle with yourself. Keep going.
You've got this.
P.S. Does this resonate with you? Share your thoughts below!
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