If I had a dollar (American) for every time a creator told me or the internet that they’re lazy, people would probably want to devour me, eat-the-rich style. I don’t buy it. I have a theory that what many creators call laziness is often just inactivity and it can be attributed to other feelings or emotions.
In this post, I’m going to share 5 things that make creators start falsely believing that they are lazy when they are actually going through something completely different:
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5 Things That Don’t Make You a Lazy Writer
Now in my late twenties, I mourn the years I spent misunderstanding procrastination. I’ve discussed this before — procrastination is an active process but laziness is a passive one. Procrastinators want to get things done but our issues lie in execution and avoidance. Lazy people are unwilling to do what must be done. Obviously, the result is the same but procrastination is something you can work on. Laziness? Well, good luck!
Doubt is the evil step cousin of procrastination. Imposter syndrome and uncertainty about your skills and talents can lead you to avoid creating all together. You don’t have to think about being unsure of yourself, you don’t do the thing that makes you think about that, right? And yet, while many of this might relate to this feeling, we often don’t even interpret it that way — we just tell ourselves we’re lazy. The good news is that doubt, like procrastination, is something you can work on.
Will you ever be able to completely cast away doubt? Maybe not but over time, by continuing to work despite the uncertainties, you’ll slowly teach yourself how to press on despite the doubts.
3. Fear of success
On the flip side of imposter syndrome is fear of success, and both can make you avoidant towards creative work. Fear of success, if you’re unfamiliar, is basically preemptively stressing out about what it means to become successful. You envision all the work it will take to maintain the progress you make in creating (and in life, if I’m perfectly honest) and it frightens you. What if you don’t have the heart of work ethic needed to keep yourself from falling right back to the bottom?
I sound like a broken record here but, again, this is something you can work on. The more you create and the longer you create, the more you’ll be able to build up the habits and tenacity to keep going. There’s a reason Malcolm Gladwell coined the term the “10,000-hour rule” (it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert).
Hustle culture is toxic. Most of us are fully aware of that but working at ridiculous speeds and churning out work has become so embedded in the creative industry. Sometimes work needs to ruminate in the mind and there’s nothing wrong with letting an idea digest before you get to bring it to life. Doing that is NOT laziness. It’s just being an artist. If you often find yourself in this predicament, please cut yourself some slack and enjoy the process.
5. The Ideal of More
These days, the possibility of “more” has never been more in your face, thanks to twitter and all these social media apps. You could always be more good looking, smarter, richer…and you could always work more. There is such little priority given to resting or accepting that we were not made for an unending desire for more. It’s okay to do enough and to stop ourselves from pouring an endless amount of energy into creating. That doesn’t make you lazy — it makes you human.
There we have it — 5 things you might have been mistaking for laziness. Are there any feelings or emotions that you think creators confuse for being lazy? I welcome your thoughts.