For my first post here on EIU writes, I thought it would be good to address the “writing process.” It’s early in the spring semester, and all of us have much writing to do before it concludes. Each of us likely has their own way of negotiating the myriad writing tasks we are faced with. Since we are focusing on Writing Across the Curriculum, it occurs to me that writing, in a very general sense, is a behavior. And behaviors, to the extent that they are goal-directed, can be beneficial or harmful, relative to desired outcomes. Though it may seem a downer to open with a meditation upon harmful behaviors, I find it helpful to own up to an element of my writing process that is causing me problems.
I am a procrastinator. Like anyone in denial, I have developed a full range of euphemisms to describe this behavioral trait. “I’m still doing the research.” “This is the pre-writing phase of my process.” “It’s all up here” [pointing to my head]. These interpretations are easy enough to support in the early part of the semester. It’s the inevitable aftermath that calls for a conceptual revision.
This is a difficult, embarrassing, and perhaps somewhat ironic declaration from someone whose job description at EIU includes the designation “Writing Consultant.” But I offer my confession as a means to invite discussion from other members of the EIU writing community. Are there any other procrastinators out there? Recovered procrastinators with certain durations of non-procrastinating under their belts? Any suggestions from anyone in any department for how to combat this writing behavior?