The Devil Is in the Procrastination

You have heard it said that “the devil is in the details”? But what about the idea that “the devil is in the procrastination”?

Alistair Begg said, “The devil’s favorite word is tomorrow. The Bible always says, ‘Today is the day of salvation’” (2 Corinthians 6:2). While he was talking about being prepared, as a Christian, for the return of Christ, I thought about the challenge of procrastination for writers.

The Some-Day Curse

How many of you have heard someone say, “Some day I’ll write a book”?

Or to make it more personal, have you used the “some day” phrase for yourself?

Writing a book, or writing anything for that matter, is rarely something that can be accomplished in one sitting–or even three. We’ve all heard the stories of a writer getting the “fever” and creating something brilliant almost instantly. George Handel’s “Messiah” was written in 24 days. But this is the exception, not the rule.

One Bite at a Time

The old answer to the question of “How do you eat an elephant?” is “One bite at a time.”

Do you have a plan for writing your book? Do you work on meeting the goals of that plan? What do you do if you fall behind?

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) found a number of you writing your novel in 30 days during the month of November. Congratulations if you’ve made it to the end! That takes a major commitment and major discipline.

I suspect the trail is also littered with those who, for any number of reasons, have lost steam … and now feel guilty.

Today Is Your Day

If the devil likes you to use the word “tomorrow,” maybe you should consider the word “today” instead. Here are a few quotes about procrastination that may be of help:

Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand—and melting like a snowflake. – Frances Bacon

The habit of always putting off an experience until you can afford it, or until the time is right, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest burglars of joy. Be deliberate, but once you’ve made up your mind—jump in. – Charles Swindoll

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us get up and go to work. – Stephen King

“One of these days” is actually none of these days.” – Anonymous

Anything worth putting off is worth abandoning altogether. – Epictetus

The Bible on “Today”

Use a few minutes now to meditate on these words from Scripture:

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalm 118:24

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:13-15

Chose this day whom you will serve … as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. – Joshua 24:15

Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. – Hebrews 3:13

Soli Deo Gloria.

23 Responses to The Devil Is in the Procrastination

  1. Avatar
    Darlene N. Böcek December 7, 2020 at 5:21 am #

    How very meaningful and true. My husband had a friend he was sharing with. He gave him a Bible and the man said, “I’ll read this when I retire.” He was still several years from retirement. As would proverbially happen, the man was soon afterwards struck by a car and died. The irony of his “dismissing” the Bible for another day hurts more because he at least HAD a Bible, though in a Muslim land. Truly, today is the day of Salvation. Today is the day to live the healthy life, to write the book, to hug your kids, to say the kind word. We never know what tomorrow holds. And thank you for your quote from Francis Bacon. “Sparkling…and melting.” Wow.

  2. Avatar
    Roberta Sarver December 7, 2020 at 5:29 am #

    Excellent advice for anyone of any occupation. Thank you.

  3. Avatar
    Barb Syvertson December 7, 2020 at 6:10 am #

    I’ll comment tomorrow.

    • Avatar
      Steve Laube December 10, 2020 at 9:58 am #

      Barb,

      Still waiting for your comment. HAHAHA!

  4. Avatar
    Abby Martin December 7, 2020 at 6:34 am #

    Beautiful, Steve: I myself am waiting until the pandemic is over to seek publishers for my novel to and my non-fiction. Love this post! God bless!

    • Avatar
      Abby Martin December 7, 2020 at 6:35 am #

      There’s no “to” after novel. Dumb autocorrect! 😉

  5. Avatar
    Debra Wallace December 7, 2020 at 7:25 am #

    Today is the day to do what I’ve been putting off. Thank you for the prompt, Steve. It’s a blessing. Especially love the scriptures included!

  6. Avatar
    Kristen Joy Wilks December 7, 2020 at 8:09 am #

    I hadn’t realized the emphasis the Bible puts on “today” but you are so right! As soon as you said it, Bible verses started popping into my head about choosing now and being now and all of those important now actions. Thank you for the reminder! Now, I’ve got to jump into editing this manuscript TODAY as the furious joy of NaNoWriMo is complete and I have my 56,881 fresh and shiny words and TODAY is a day for making them into something lasting and lovely!

  7. Avatar
    Deb December 7, 2020 at 8:18 am #

    Thank you

  8. Avatar
    Becky Crowe December 7, 2020 at 8:26 am #

    Thanks for posting this. It could not have come at a more perfect time!

  9. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser December 7, 2020 at 9:50 am #

    I’ll get to it another day,
    to take my time is best,
    and I feel like anyway,
    I really need a rest.
    There surely is no need to rush,
    the work is better without haste
    and the drive to shove and crush
    it onto shape, and thus to waste
    the bennison of passing time
    with which my writing should be seasoned,
    and to make my best sublime,
    it is thus that I have reasoned,
    but diligence to sloth succumbs,
    and tomorrow never comes.

  10. Avatar
    J.D. Rempel December 7, 2020 at 10:20 am #

    I’m going to print this out and hang it up for inspiration. Then I’m going to make a writing plan. Thanks for the encouragement!

  11. Avatar
    Carol Nicolet Loewen December 7, 2020 at 10:55 am #

    Thanks for the encouragement and challenge Steve. Very timely.

  12. Avatar
    OLUSOLA SOPHIA ANYANWU December 7, 2020 at 11:49 am #

    Thanks so much for this post. A prayer is in good order! May God deliver us all from the spirit of procrastination whenever we are attacked. God bless you for the wake up call to take everyday as the Lord’s day for using the talent He gave us. I hope to start my blog asap -Amen.

  13. Avatar
    G chops December 7, 2020 at 12:54 pm #

    In my small experiment agents procrastinate at least as much as writers.

    • Avatar
      Steve Laube December 10, 2020 at 9:58 am #

      I meant to reply right away but procrastinated.
      Thereby proving your point! LOL.

      By the way, I intentionally waited for four days to write this joke.
      I’ve never claimed that agents to not procrastinate. But this blog’s audience is made up of writers and publishing professionals, some of whom may be agents, but not the main focus.

      Steve

  14. Avatar
    Len Bailey December 7, 2020 at 2:39 pm #

    Even a short story, I’ve learned, takes a whole month of every-day writing. That’s just for 5,000-6,000 words . . .

  15. Avatar
    Bryan Mitchell December 7, 2020 at 2:58 pm #

    I truly believe it’s called the present for a reason.

  16. Avatar
    Peggy Booher December 7, 2020 at 7:49 pm #

    Steve,

    Thanks for this wake-up call. Chuck Swindoll’s quote spoke to me, especially “…until you know how to do it…” . I have put off doing so many things because I didn’t know how to do it, or didn’t think I could do it right. Yet, for any skill or craft, you have to make a start, to know how to do it. You have to start sometime.

  17. Avatar
    Debbie Ewald December 8, 2020 at 4:09 pm #

    My current procrastination issue is my book proposal. I’ve completed my first book, but find the proposal more difficult than the book, especially the comparative analysis.

  18. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D. December 9, 2020 at 12:38 pm #

    You may have noticed how long it took me to post my comments. Though I do not usually procrastinate, nine classes with eight preps has put me a bit behind…..Not that I was procrastinating on replying; it was more to do with reading….

    • Avatar
      Steve Laube December 9, 2020 at 2:58 pm #

      Sheri,

      I think I heard that excuse before, but it was more along the lines of, “The blog ate my homework.”

      Steve

  19. Avatar
    Hope Ann December 15, 2020 at 6:09 am #

    Yesssss! I love this. Right now, one of my main focuses is to sit down and get some writing done, even if it’s not the ‘x amount of words/time’ that I’d planned. Because of a handful of life reasons, I don’t have the hours of time to write that I used to. But I know I can do something instead of being ‘eh, I can’t reach my goal so I might as well postpone the whole thing and reset goals next week.’

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