I have to go shopping and run all these errands. I’ll just do it on Sunday.
I have this massive paper due. I’ll just write it on Sunday.
I haven’t done any writing this week. I’ll catch up on Sunday.
I used to be an egregious offender. A huge procrastinator with my writing. I have a full-time job, and a social life from time to time, so I would always tell myself that I would tackle my writing on the weekends. Then Saturday and Sunday would come, and I would get busy…watching TV, taking a walk around my neighborhood, going to the gym, eating, reading a month-old magazine. I got no writing done. I suffered from the SIFS—not a catchy term for syphilis, but rather the Save It For Sundays. (Not to be confused with SNIS.)
See, the problem with saving everything for the weekend is that we have too much free time, which for a writer is just more time to procrastinate. And when we save everything for the weekend, writing will take a back seat to more pertinent tasks on the to-do list, like grocery shopping and cleaning. We find all these little tasks that need to get done, and then before we know it, it's Sunday night at 10pm and we haven't written anything. (We? I guess I mean I...)
SIFS may be swell for some writers, but not me. I need structure. I get more done when I have less time. That makes my time more valuable, and it doesn’t leave me beholden to waiting for inspiration. I get my best work done on weekends when I only set aside an hour or two. If I plan to write the whole day, then I keep putting it off. "Oh, I just have to pick something up at the store, but I'll get to it after," for example.
I know my limitations now. I can’t write for 5-6 hours straight. I can’t do anything for 5-6 hours straight except sleep. My writing attention span lasts for 1-2 hours, and that’s all I expect of myself. That’s how long I write on weekdays, and that’s how long I write on weekends. The blank screen is less daunting when I know I won’t have to spend all day staring at it. It’s better to get in 1 good hour of writing than spend 5 hours sitting at your computer watching classic music videos on YouTube. And if I get into the zone and write for more than 2 hours, then I’ve exceeded my expectations!
So how about you? Do you suffer from the SIFS, or do you prefer them?
p.s. I got that awesome Garfield graphic here.