Why Isn’t There a Procrastinators Anonymous?

Friday, August 14, 2015
by Aimee Levey

I don’t know how many times I have tried to finish my first book. It’s been going on for almost five years. The reason it is taking so long is because the book is crazy and I’m unsure about unleashing it on the world. Also, the main character has the most unattractive of first names. I can’t even imagine what my demographic would be. I feel like the words only make sense when read aloud in my voice in the usual I’ve-lived-many-lives-weary tone that I was born with.

I have trusted some to read the first few drafts and they promise it’s not as bad as I think it might be. They even say it’s so funny they peed their underwear on a few occasions. But these are people who know me and are already aware that I have a screw loose. And I know full well that there is a huge novelty involved in reading a book of a friend to get further inside their heads so you can judge them some more and use their thinking disguised by the thinking of made-up "characters" as blackmail further down the line if the book fails.

I was thinking of coming up with a pseudonym to protect my reputation. (What reputation? There is no reputation.) These are the names I have come up with so far: Pope Windcock-Dithers, I M Frei, Floppie Johnson. What I want to do is strike a balance between a man and a woman’s name so that nobody will be sure who or what they are dealing with when the book comes out. (If it ever does come out…) And the critics might be kinder to Pope or Floppie than me. Don’t ask me why that would be the case. Pope or Floppie sound like more upstanding, credible individuals to me is all.

I sit back in the sofa and imagine all the bad reviews from critics who definitely won’t understand, who have clearly never battled with the doubting demons associated with the novel-composing process, who never endured friends and family asking, "So, how’s the book coming along?" And I wish I never had the novel notion. And I end up getting so angry with critics and my big boastful, unrestrained mouth spouting on about "oh, I’m writing a book". And all the while I’m digging my nails into the armrest with stress and putting off writing. Why isn’t there a Procrastinators Anonymous?

Sometimes I wish so hard for a typewriter. So that there would be pressure on me to choose each word more carefully. The last thing you want to do on a typewriter is type words you’re unsure of. On my computer, I sit up in bed, my buttocks burrowed into the mattress covered in sweat from the copious amounts of caffeine consumed by me. And I’m distracted by the internet. I try to disconnect from the router and focus on Word only but I need to know all of the news around the world in every online news publication. So I write in the fashion to come back to edit later. Not the kind of killer precision and mining-words-from-the-back-of-the-mind writing employed in typewriting. I want the internet to time out on my personal computer after twenty minutes of usage and for it to tell me to "cop on and get busy." I need help with distraction management. Can’t the technology genii invent a special kind of computer for procrastinating, hard slog-dodging writers like myself?

* * *
Aimee Levey is Irish and based in Greenford, London. She has just finished her first novel and is currently seeking a literary agent. She has written poetry (thirty poems in all), songs, two TV pilot episodes with follow up episodes. 

In the last few years she has been focusing on writing, performing and producing her own plays (Cryptosporidium Town, De Backlan's, Natural State and Harder Please). Chances are you won’t have heard of any of these plays. She has put on shows at the Etc. theatre in Camden and did a full run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013.


Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



Sioux Roslawski said...

Aimee--If there IS a procrastinators anonymous, I want to join. Perhaps we could be co-presidents?

Val said...

Loved this! Floppie Johnson gave me a chuckle.

I have been searching Google nonstop for a way to cleanse your mattress-burrowed buttocks from my mind's eye. No antidote yet.

Please use Floppie Johnson for your pseudonym. Every home needs a Floppie Johnson on the nightstand!

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