On Procrastination and Zombies

The beginning of the school year in Korea starts in March, so last week, the daily grind officially began. I did very little. And by “little” I mean I gave every class a near impossible to solve word search. It kept them occupied while I played Plants vs. Zombies on my iPad. Oh yeah, ESL at it’s finest right there. But that means this week I’ve got something like twenty-five classes to plan for and here I am on a Sunday and haven’t really even started.Often, the hardest aspect of doing something is starting. Most of my lessons are provided to me. Even though this makes my job fairly easy, I will procrastinate, sometimes for hours before finally starting to figure out how to present that content. This applies to most things I do: dishes, laundry, sleeping, showering on the weekends, and of course dressing after I get out of the shower. There have been days where I’ll wake up with the sun, but won’t do a thing until it goes back down.Strangely, this rule does not apply to writing. I have about a dozen different stories and another half dozen poems that are nothing more than a scribble of a sentence. I often start novels, get a few chapters in, then forget about them completely only to rediscover them months later, having barely any recollection of ever starting in the first place. The difficult part for me is finishing what I’ve started.

My English Only Zone (EOZ)

Sure, in Korea I’ve got more free time than at any other job. In fact, the last two and a half months were pretty much vacation for me. I had to sometimes go in and sit at my desk, but I had no classes and no paperwork. But while I’m at school, I’m not starting new ideas. I’m continuing them. I’m working on finishing them. And that’s when procrastination comes back into play. I tell myself I have to feel it. My mood has to be right. And much of that free time is squandered. I’ve spent just about two years on my current novel and the end is in sight. But it’s hard. It has to be good, to capture what I picture in my mind, and perhaps that’s part of why I hesitate to jump right in when I’ve got a free period or two.

So this is the week that I try to finish. My goal was today, but we’ve had a string of nice weather so my wife and I took our scooter around Busan yesterday instead of staying in so I could get some writing done. However, I know just what needs to happen in the closing chapters and it’s high time I make it happen. But then I’ll put off letting people read it because it’s editing time. And editing time will be put off because it’s so much damn work. And let’s not forget that those valiant plants defending my virtual home from zombies. They need sunlight or the zombies will win. And if there’s one thing no one should put off, it’s defending themselves from the zombie invasion.


Steven E. Athay is an aspiring story designer and connoisseur of all things awesome. Follow him on Twitter at @steveneathay, or read his blog Afflatus.
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