Friday, November 18, 2011

Virtues of Procrastination: a late-in-the-day post

"Eh. I'll do it tomorrow."

Like all good procrastinators I started reading last night a book I knew I was scheduled to review today. Luckily for me, it was an awesome book and I zoomed through it, intermittently in tears and smiles. Fabulous literary novel!

That book is STRING BRIDGE by Jessica Bell and you can read my review here. <--book giveaway in the comments section.

But since it's Nano month, I want to talk a little bit about procrastination and its role in a writer's life. :) Fitting, right?

Maybe you don't think it's fitting at all. Maybe you're one of those writers who ALWAYS meets her target word count every single day of November. Not me. I write like this:

Day 1: 5k words
Day 2: 500 words
and so on...

I embrace procrastination in my art because, given deadlines, it works for me. Some people invite their muse by writing a little every day even when the words coming out sound like crap. I do this sometimes, too, but the crap-writing phase without fail makes me feel like I'm wasting my time. I do much better under a deadline.

I invite my muse by doing OTHER things. Things that make me want to write. Here's a little list:

  • doing the dishes
  • taking a shower
  • watching a movie with the hubz
  • watching a favorite TV show
  • listening to new music
  • listening to an old mix CD
  • going for a walk or run
  • playing with my kids (the middle grade ideas flow from their lips like manna from heaven)
  • playing Sims 3
  • reading, reading, reading
In short, procrastination is just living in rebellion of your own ambition. It's putting something else as priority besides your goals. Keeping writing from becoming routine and normal can lead to huge bursts of creativity.

Maybe not the healthiest way to write, but I've always done my best work this way. The world calls it crazy. My mom calls it artistic temperament. To me it's just life.

This isn't an anti-goals post. I still set goals all the time and take a long-view on reaching them. I set deadlines for myself when I think I can possibly meet them, and give myself a break from deadlines when family, church, or my physical health suck me into reality.

But I'm a proud procrastinator. Sure, this post is a little late in the day (it's 10:30am here in Cali). But it's here!

Note: The problem with procrastination comes when you set a series of goals, like, say, Nanowrimo, and then consistently procrastinate writing until November 30th and you've still got 30k words to write.

In the words of the bard...

It's Day 18 of Nanowrimo. How are you all doing?


  1. I'm a little behind but not totally. I hit a roadblock but am ready to plow that down and get moving.

    I don't procrastinate very well in many things. Somehow laundry is always exempt from this.

  2. Ha ha! Laundry is the universal bane.

    Go Tasha! Kick Nano's butt!


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