I woke up this morning after a terrible night’s sleep (see Ghost Kid for possible reasons why…) but oddly, I didn’t feel the usual morning fatigue. I felt driven and ready to write. I planned to continue with the novel, and I had ideas noted down from last night’s pre-sleep creativity burst for a short story and a couple of flashes. But then I made the usual mistakes of (1) Switching the TV on, and (2) Going on twitter. Friday is my day off and I always plan to write ALL DAY, but what inevitably happens is one (or more) of the following….
Thanks to Catherine Noble for sparking this 🙂
How to procrastinate
- Research random plot/character elements – the ones that mean you can’t possibly write on without knowing, e.g. What are the more unusual symptoms of a brain tumour? Which poisons are undetected by a standard tox screen? What music does your main character listen to when they are sad/happy/working? You could just write ‘xxx’ or some other marker to alert you to go back to that bit later, but…
- Look up quotes – how could I describe my book with a famous person’s quote? Who would be most relevant? Can I rely on quotes from quote finder sites on the internet? Readers will really connect with me if I do this, won’t they?
- Look at cover art ideas for the unfinished book – will I be able to have a say if I get a traditional deal? What if I decide that I will self-publish after all? Where will I find a designer? Should I go quirky or dark? I can’t write if I don’t know what the book will look like on the table in Waterstones, can I?
- Ask others how they avoid procrastinating – what do YOU do to get the words down? How do you stay motivated? (Let’s have a really long discussion about this on twitter/facebook/goodreads/blog comments…)
- Organise your folders on your laptop – a tidy shop is a tidy mind (or something… who said that? *frantically looks up quote finder sites*)
- Write to do lists – multiple ones, preferably. A great idea in theory, but if you’re like me they get longer, not shorter as time goes on
- Read blog posts about ‘how to write’ – yep, please find me the magic bullet. It’s like diet pills. Something must work, right? It can’t just be all hard work and write, write, write, can it?
- Look at agents and publishers websites – very important, this one. Who to submit to. The right fit. They all want to see a finished manuscript, but hey, if you keep searching you might find one who’ll be interested in reading your half written unedited sludge – keep looking!
- Consider an MA ‘to help you write more’ – all the best writers have done one, haven’t they? Do not rely on your own abilities – you *must* consider giving up a year of your time to attend classes, get feedback, all that jazz. Ok, you will have to give up work and pay fees, but this is a dead cert – why aren’t you doing an MA? Ditto countless day classes, night classes, online workshops, etc etc – ok, you’ll have no actual time to write after all this, but you’ll know SO much about other people’s rules… *NOTE: I am not slagging off MAs… I applaud all who have done one… Thinking about doing one and not doing one though, that’s the time-suck…
- Chat on social media about how you have no time to write – ‘I’m so busy at work’, ‘The kids take up all my time’, ‘Oh, I’ve been on twitter for 6 hours! LOL’, ‘OMFG’, ‘#writersnightmare’
- Read about how other writers write – this is similar to the MA. You can’t possibly write without knowing how EVERYONE else who writes, writes. Can you?
- Buy books on Amazon on recommendation, even when TBR pile is as high as the house – YES! Reading! You must read as a writer, this is a fact – reading more than you write though? Potential flaw in this plan…
- Daydream about what you’ll do when you can give up work to write full time – oh yes, when I have all day, every day, I’ll be so prolific that I’ll give James Patterson a run for his money, and I won’t even need co-writers – I’ll write 10,000 a day and still have time to go for a woodland walk to formulate ideas, talk to squirrels, free my mind… I’ll also have time to cook lovely dinners, have lunch with fellow writers, chat to my fans in the street…
- Write a blog post about procrastination – um…
If I’ve learnt anything in my short foray into Writingland, it’s that there’s only one way to write… Only one rule…
JUST WRITE! 🙂
How do you procrastinate? Would love to hear your thoughts!