Calico Reaction (calico_reaction) wrote in book_reviews,
Calico Reaction
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Fiore, Neil: The Now Habit

The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play
Writer: Neil Fiore
Genre: Self-Help
Pages: 202

Continuing with my research on writer's block/procrastination, next up in the pile is Neil Fiore's The Now Habit. This book wasn't on my original list when I scoured the internet for research, but it should've been, because the person who introduced me to the book at a later date was the very person I'd gone to for suggestions not more than a week earlier! He used this book as a basis for an online chat on writer's habits, and it caught my attention enough to snag the title and read it all the way through.

I don't know if I've reached a point where everything I'm reading is kind of simmering into ONE GREAT TRUTH about procrastination and the things that cause it and how to fight it, or if Fiore just made much better sense than the others I've read. He lacks the philosophical crap of Pressfield (unlike Pressfield's book, Fiore's The Now Habit deserves to be labeled and shelved in self-help), and he also doesn't bother with eyebrow-raising notions of bi-vocal thinking introduced in Peterson's Write.

The biggest difference is that unlike the other two titles, both aimed at getting over procrastination and writer's block, Fiore's book has nothing to do with the craft of writing. Writing a novel might be a project he refers to from time to time, but Fiore is focused on the problem of procrastination itself. Like Peterson, he doesn't believe in beating people over the head with the notion that if you're a procrastinator, you must be lazy and therefore unworthy of your undertaking, and like Peterson, he believes that it's necessary and healthy for people to engage in play, because in doing so, your work becomes something else, something worthwhile, if only you can adjust your attitude about it.

There's nothing new-agey (except for maybe the relaxation exercise detailed in the back of the book) or preachy about Fiore's strategy or exposition. He tackles the problem of procrastination for what it really is rather than what everyone else assumes it to be (like Pressfield). His strategy focuses on how guilt-free play can lead to quality work, as well as how to use an "unschedule" to meet your deadlines and make big projects far more manageable, the latter being something that Kelly Stone touched on in Time to Write.

It's actually refreshing to read a book that has nothing to do with the writing process and all about procrastination and its roots. This book has clicked with me in ways the others haven't, and I suspect it's because it looks at procrastination as the big picture, rather than one narrow aspect of it (in my case, writing a novel). I would've killed to know about this book back when I started my degree in 2006, even more so to have known about this book in my second year in 2007, when procrastination had truly started to become disabling. Even without trying the "unschedule," I can already see how this book's principles and strategies can create a healthier, more productive mindset for someone like me, and I'm glad I've got this book in my arsenal.

My Rating

Must Have: Obviously. This book is for more than just writers, it's for anyone who puts off doing ANYTHING for any reason and feels guilty/worthless/lazy for doing so. It's for the workaholic as well. It's a book I'll recommend to anyone without feeling bad or needing to clarify my recommendation, so if you or someone you know suffers from procrastination of ANY kind for ANY kind of project, even if it's just paying the bills on time or not being late, this is the book to go to.
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