A Story of Procrastination This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

October 6, 2008
Eleven thirty-one. It’s eleven ­thirty-one, and I’ve got nothing. Two weeks’ preparation, and it all comes down to this. Gnats swoop around my neck as my pen furiously dances on the paper.

Two hours. Two hours. Two fleeting hours counting down to judgment day. I had two weeks, two weeks, for five hundred words that tell a story, my story, a story of procrastination. People crowd around me, not knowing they are distracting me. My mind is a moth, they are the flame. I fly hopelessly toward them.

A gust of sudden wind rustles my paper, and I look down. Eleven forty-four. I’ve lost precious time! How can I overcome these distractions? Voices endlessly clamor in my mind. The worst thing is, they keep coming … the people, they’re everywhere.

The doors fling open and they rush out of the cafeteria, a sudden storm flooding my workspace like bugs, like caterpillars. They are caterpillars that eat and eat, devouring my blossoming ideas. My ideas are disappearing, leaving me! All ­because of the caterpillars, the people.

The bell. My veins ­con­tract. My heart stops beating for only a second, but it stops. My hands begin to shake uncontrollably. I stand and start walking to fourth period. Fifty-two minutes! I have 52 minutes to write a story, my story, a story of ­procrastination.

My walk quickens to a sprint. I’m running through the halls and I don’t care what they think because they don’t know me. They don’t know my situation. They never could … could they? Have these stressful feelings of frustration and shame ever filled their veins? Has aggravation and disappointment ever pumped through their hearts? Have I been a caterpillar?

Ouch. Wrist cramp! Is this karma for all the years that I’ve been the distraction? Well, the tables have turned all right! Has the distraction become the distracted?

In this sudden epiphany, I arrive at class. Students shuffle around their desks, but the room quickly falls silent. My ideas begin to return and recirculate, safely lodging the wretched caterpillars in their cocoons. My ideas are sprouting. They are growing and I love it.

I love it, but wait … These ideas have been tainted by ­stories filled with laughing, gossip, food, and reality. The characters have changed from knights, queens, and dragons to Benjamin, Angelique, Bianca, Tanner, and Mitchell. Worst of all, the antagonist has become Ernie, fat Ernie! How can I write about someone I hate? My ideas are ruined. They’re tainted and useless to me.

The bell rings. The cocoons are hatching and turning the caterpillars into butterflies. Butterflies that want to stay and live in my stomach, swirling and twirling around inside me. They fill me up. They make me want to vomit, vomit out all of these worthless ideas, and my feelings of shame and frustration.

As I approach the door, I can’t hold them in any longer. I feel the butterflies escaping through every orifice of my body. My pores pour sweat. My veins throb. My mouth spits out words, trying to explain everything I’ve gone through. My dead cat. My participation in extracurricular ideas. My extreme load of classes.

I want to speak, to say anything, but nothing comes. Something. Anything. They’re all excuses anyway, ­excuses that don’t help but delay the inevitability that at the end of this 52-minute class I have a paper due, a paper with metaphors, similes, ­alliteration, brushstrokes, and most importantly with my voice. My voice tells my story, a story of procrastination. All I have left are my poisoned ideas strung together into a story, my story, a story of procrastination.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 96 comments. Post your own now!

Preparing said...
Nov. 2, 2011 at 3:09 pm
Very nicely written. I can completely relate to this :)
writingmagic26 said...
Oct. 11, 2011 at 8:09 pm
Is this a true story???  I can't help but wonder. . .  is this the paper you turned in, or are you just writing about the paper you didn't turn in? Because if this is the paper you turned in, than amazing work, and A+ job.
TTTeeSS replied...
Apr. 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm
Same thing I was thinking.
SecretSearcher This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 11, 2011 at 8:08 pm
Wow! Unfortunately I can relate...
Victoria.S said...
Oct. 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm
I love this! A story about writing a story, procrastination! Keep Writing :)
Kisha T. said...
Sept. 19, 2011 at 11:24 pm
This is really great. I think all of us, as teenagers, can relate to the frustrations of procrastination, and this portrays it really well. :)
janina said...
Aug. 28, 2011 at 11:13 am
Sorry, it's just a little too weird for me. Too much talk about caterpillars and veins and stuff, it's like, WHAAAT? I don't get it!  If you had ended it by saying something cute like, "that's my story of procrastination.  I have no story because I procrastinated too much!" I would have liked it better.  I mean, who the heck is fat ernie anyway?
. replied...
Aug. 28, 2011 at 10:34 pm
I actually really like it, come on, tell me that your mind isn't going through something close or precisely like this when you know that you have procrastinated, there's no way out and your thoughts are rushing through your head at a thousand miles an hour so you don't have time to explain who the heck 'fat ernie' is because your too busy trying to focus. Plus in the end he did end up with a story that is more than 500 words which is perfectly ironic . A story with alliterations,metaphors, a bea... (more »)
Pumpkinscout replied...
Sept. 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm
Agreed, completely. Great article. I liked it!
Meep replied...
Nov. 24, 2011 at 10:20 am

Janina, if you don't understand the author's usage of "caterpillars and veins and stuff", then you don't understand literature.

Actually, I think that ending would've been slightly childish and cliche, especially since this sounds like a college report and therefore must be more sophisticated and original.

ishmael_bishop This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 6, 2011 at 10:22 pm
That was amazing!!
M-star said...
Jun. 30, 2011 at 1:05 pm
Been there, done that!:)
Eilleen said...
Jun. 23, 2011 at 6:47 pm
I totally understand that frustrated over streessed feeling... I reaaly liked reading this. Keep writing
Shadowrider said...
Jun. 23, 2011 at 12:16 am
I love this and it really makes me feel what you felt. The descriptions especially about caterpillars and butterflys were so amazing! Your really good!
Alex G. said...
Jun. 1, 2011 at 11:28 pm
So well done! Love it! Keep writing!
farah This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm
love itt!!! 
jools said...
Apr. 5, 2011 at 8:40 pm
This story was written with so much passion. The vocabulary was so intense that made me love the English language even more . Keep up the good work!
sparkledreamer said...
Mar. 28, 2011 at 12:01 am
wow! really great piece of writing. exactly how I feel when I procrastinate. Amazing! Please read and comment on some of my work please.
kisekinya525 said...
Mar. 27, 2011 at 10:24 pm
Wow! I love how you really capture the feeling of how is when you are procrastinating! I feel like this all the time, and you explained it to a T! Awesome job! 
Reading-in-English said...
Feb. 25, 2011 at 9:18 am
This was swelly written, and really captured the feelings behind procrastination. I hate to admit it, but I can relate whole heartedly. 
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