Thursday, January 27, 2005

Procrastination

Ah yes, the bane of every writer's existence. There are so many distractions.Ones that are related to our writing, so they seem ok. But in then end, they still keep us from doing what we're supposed to - write.

I admit to being, at the very least, a Princess of Procrastination. Part of the problem is that, while I get up fairly early most mornings, my brain doesn't seem to completely engage till around noon. Or so I tell myself.

Take this morning, for instance - I got up a little later than usual, then made coffee and started some laundry. Next I sat down to read email and get on with my day. After finishing with email, I turned to my upcoming research column (I answer people's questions) and started off well, staying very focussed. Then I found a site that was related to my family history search. Promised myself just one little click. But before I knew it I was off on a tangent. And there's
really only one word for this. Procrastination.

So, now I've wasted (well, ok, not really wasted, because I do intend to write my family history book one day) at least an hour that SHOULD have been spent finishing my research column and then getting on with manuscript work.

What's a girl to do? Go out onto the internet (again ) and look for articles! And I found quite a few.

Karen Wiesner has written on Procrastination and Goals, while Karen Lee talks about Overcoming Procrastination. Fans of Writer's Digest will be familiar with Sharyn McCrumb - read her Advice on Avoiding Writer's Procrastination.

Are you like me, belonging to lots of writers email listservs? Robin Bayne has some thoughts on this in Writers and E-Groups---Procrastination for the New Millenium? Do you sometimes mix up writer's block with procrastination? Marg McAlister thinks you might. Not certain? See her article Writer's Block - or Procrastination?

Do published authors procrastinate too? You bet! Author Leanne Banks provides A Sneak Peek into Deadline Land.

Looking for a solution? Try some of the tips in Time Management for Writers, by writer Terescia Harvey. And, last, but not least, if you're still not certain if you qualify as a procrastinator, read Rebecca Wade's You Know You're Procrastinating When... and see. (While there, have a gander at her Ten Commandments of Romance Writing - they're great!)

But all the advice in the world, while helpful, will never completely cure me of my need to procrastinate. I've accepted that. Along with the fact that I'm a multi-tasker extraordinaire. And it works for me, for the most part. The deadline for that research column is still well over a week away, so I didn't lose much by getting distracted this morning. Especially as I did both searches at the same time (I wasn't kidding about the multi-tasking).

The main thing to remember about procrastination is that you have to keep it under control. If you're a procrastinator and know it, work with it. Allow yourself some time, then MOVE ON. That's what I do. Or try to, most of the time. In the end, my characters and career aspirations don't give me a choice.

Now, you might say that this blog is just another form of procrastination. And in part, you'd be right, but it's not. Not really. I tried to do morning pages a few years ago, but couldn't handle the writing by hand (I have CTS). But I always have so many thoughts rushing around in my head that I've decided to try, once again, to do a form of morning pages - using this blog. By getting all these random thoughts out of my head, my writing will be better. And maybe I'll help other writers along the way.

Teresa

1 comment:

Kim said...

Hey, thanks for all those links! I'm a born procrastinator. (Is there any human being who isn't in one form or another?) Hopefully, I'll be able to apply some of the advice in those websites.

'Course, I put them in a file to read later. ;)