January 24, 2011

Procrastination Station

It is -12 degrees this morning.  Seriously.  I am not making this up.

When my husband got to the train station it was -15!

I suppose if you live in South Dakota or Minnesota, that's no big deal, but around here, that's pretty darn cold!

Even the dogs have decided that discretion is the better part of valor and are doing squirrel patrol from inside the house :)  Not the most calm or quiet pastime, I might add...

By noon, our esteemed weather forecasters predict it will be up to a whopping 10, at which point the dogs and I will be able to brave an outing.  In the meantime, it's a perfect time to write.

Except I suddenly feel a mad urge to vacuum.  And there's laundry to fold.  And I could certainly unload the dishwasher.  And when was the last time I cleaned out my closet?  Or polished the silver?  And maybe I should take a toothbrush to the tile grout in the bathroom....

Which brings me to today's topic:

Procrastination: (v) to put off, defer, or delay action until a later time...

Procrastination, I am your queen!

But apparently I am not the only writer who feels this way.  In just the past few days, fellow author bloggers have mentioned the same problem (see Nancie's thoughts) and offered advice on how to make better use of your time (see Novel Journey)  And a writer friend of mine mentioned that she gets her work done thanks to Macfreedom, which allows you to turn off your WiFi for a preset amount of time (no more checking your inbox every 20 seconds or playing sporcle!!!)  It seems many writers suffer from this problem.

And there's a good reason.  Writing is hard!

Gene Fowler said, "Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead," and Walter Wellesley Smith said, "There's nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."  A.A. Milne, whom I've quoted before, said, "I know of no work manual or mental to equal the appalling heart-breaking anguish of fetching an idea from nowhere."

So if you're a writer, and a procrastinator, not only are you not alone, you're in very good company :)  And I think it's always nice to know you've got company - that others struggle with the same things you do and understand the difficulties.

But I've discovered a curious thing.  I can't not write for very long.  If I start vacuuming or unloading the dishwasher, one of those tasks where the hands are busy but the mind is free, I often find that I suddenly have a lot of ideas and need to write them down immediately.  Which explains why my house tends to be half-vacuumed, the laundry is folded but not put away, and (who are we kidding) the tile grout in the bathroom has not been scrubbed by toothbrush since we moved in :)

Maybe it's backwards procrastination...  I procrastinate from writing by doing chores, and I procrastinate from doing chores by writing!  See?  I told you...

Procrastination, I am your queen!

Writing is hard.  But we love it anyway.  We're writers, so we have to write, and no matter how much we procrastinate, we'll get to it eventually.  In the meantime, take comfort in the fact that we're all in it together :)

How do you procrastinate (maybe by reading this blog... :)) and what do you do to get yourself back in gear?  Share with your fellows in procrastination!


  1. I've been doing a lot of procrastinating lately, as I try to get started on a rewrite of one of my novels. The starting is hard. So much thinking! But I usually find the best way to get into writing is to just sit down and start writing anything. Even if it's not relevant to my current story.

  2. I often do the same thing (see the post on Getting Started from 01/11/11!)

    The absolute best thing is when you've gotten going and the story and writing take over. Those are the days when nothing else gets done because you suddenly realize you've been writing for 5 hours. I LOVE those days :)

  3. Agreed. Procrastination Station is somewhere I try to leave from as soon as I realize I'm there, but frequently there's no horn that blasts to warn me of arrival.

  4. Jeri- i am interested in the subject of your blog. I used to teach dyslexic kids. Are you a teacher? Homeschooler of a dyslexic?


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