There Be Dragons…and Procrastination IS a Fire-Breather

Am I treasure enough for you to face your dragons?

Lianne Raymond wrote this to me – to all of us – in a comment a month ago and I’ve been thinking about it and quoting it ever since.

(Even last night. F quoted Rumi – “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” –  and I quoted Raymond and really we were saying the same thing.)

Let’s be clear: I’m not much of a dragon-slayer. I’m a lover, not a fighter.

Mostly. Unless a stranger says cutting, nunyobiznaz, implying-I’m-a-trashy-mom things to me at the end of How To Train Your Dragon. And then I’ll go there, bitch.

(‘Course afterwards I’ll weep and write ~2,500 words about how badly I feel for calling another woman a bitch – and still think about it six months later.)

So when it comes to demons, dragons, and fears, my usual strategy is to snuggle them into submission. Make friends. Cuddle.

Because here’s what I think: my fears and my dragons are part of me. They are me. To banish them, fight them, or slay them is to to start a war – the thing you attack always fights back – to destroy myself. It is like an amputation. And fear, like limbs – all of which I’m firmly attached to – has a purpose. Fear is a professor.

So I’m keeping all my bits. Even the scary, fire-breathing ones.

Like procrastination.

I procrastinate in three ways: I delay making a decision; I delay responding to people (usually because I haven’t made a decision); and I delay doing.

And, as I wrote to Kareem yesterday, the first two procrastinations cause me – and the people who need me – problems. But the last way I procrastinate is, I’m convinced, simply part of the creative process. Another word for it is incubation. I grow and warm an idea until it springs fully-formed from my head. (Usually at the last possible minute before a deadline.)

I wrote Dave about this recently:

How can I stop procrastinating when there’s such a reward for it? I could work on a piece like a dentist on a bad tooth: poking and pulling until it is a bloody mess…or I could wait until that piece, like a loose tooth, is ready to fall out on its own. Which it will, inevitably – and with a lot less pain, drama and wasted hours in the chair.

To be sure, I do both – push and pull pieces and allow them to fall on their own when they’re ready (and then I polish, shine and carve those calcifications. This is also known as “editing”.). But, I think, letting them come isn’t procrastination. It is  parthenogenesis and that’s not a new process for creators. Athena turned out all right.

So that part of procrastination – it just occurred to me that procrastination is in fact a three-headed dragon – and I get along just fine. I simply need to find a way to make peace with the demands of the other two.

Mostly, they’re hungry. We’re all wild when our stomachs or our souls are empty.

And that’s what my last piece was about: commitment. Choosing. Deciding. Cutting – not myself, my limb, my fears, my essentials – to heal, not hurt. Facing and feeding my dragons so I can keep them fat and happy. 

Because, after all, we belong together.

About the author

Kelly Diels I'm Kelly Diels. I'm a writer. I've written for Salon, Jezebel, XO Jane, Problogger, Write to Done and more. I'm currently working on a book about The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand. Interested? Please subscribe to my newsletter and I'll share more thoughts and chapters with you as I write them. You can also find me on Facebook and yes please, please do.