Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Fine Art of Procrastination

Yes, I've finally typed "The End" on my Schumaker story, but this is where the real work comes in. Cleaning up the mess of hastily scribbled words. Shouldn't be so hard, you say?

My first drafts are generally very scattered and confusing. In my head, they make perfect sense. On paper, a reader would look at some of this and say "where did that come from?" That's what I'm addressing now. Those disconnects. The information that isn't "on the page." And the structural end of it. It's an end to the imagination part and the start of the work part.

This is what a writing day looks like:

Sit down at computer. Power it up. Get something to drink while said computer "wakes up." Sit down again. Open work in progress. Read the previous chapter (or, the spot I've bookmarked to go back to). Switch to Facebook. Check posts. Switch to Twitter. Check Tweets. IM friends.

Oh. WAIT! I'm supposed to be writing. 

Close Facebook. Close Twitter. Give friends the "TTYL."

Re-read work in progress.

Switch to Bejeweled Blitz and achieve the next keystone. Switch to Candy Crush and use up five lives.

WAIT! I'm supposed to be working.

Switch back to work in progress. Oh. It's lunchtime, and I have to go to the grocery store.

Come back from lunch. Sit at computer and open work in progress. Point finger at self and repeat after me, "You will get this done." Focus on work in progress.

I'm on a roll now. New chapters. Crutch words dumped. Useless phrases deleted. Cross reference copyediting done. 

Guess what?  Now it's dinner time. And, believe it or not, I've accomplished something!

Some days, procrastination isn't a problem. Laser-like focus is right there from the minute I sit down. But on those wool-gathering, butterfly chasing days, it takes a little longer to get down to the business of writing. The take-home message here is to get to it. Even if you find yourself wandering off task, it's important to get "something" done. Books don't write themselves.

Some authors set goals for themselves. "X" amount of words per day, or "X" number of hours per day. Goals are a good way to hold yourself accountable. For me, throwing in a work day (and sometimes very unpredictable work days) makes those types of goals a little more challenging. The most important part of writing is writing. Make the time. Limit distractions.

I have to get back to editing now.

I wonder if those airfares have come down so I can plan my vacation yet?


  1. I''m laughing with you Karla - sounds like my day, except I'm not writing a book. Technology has a way of getting in the way of being productive, but it's so much fun. It is so interesting to read about how a book comes together. I don't think most people (me included) even realize the amount of work put into a book. It sounds so easy to say you'll just sit down and start writing. It's all the other stuff that writers do that the reader is totally unaware of.

  2. Sometimes the distraction is good. And sometimes I need to buckle down! Down to the work part of getting the story done. thanks for stopping by, Mario's mom.