Michille: Procrasti Nation

Spring1I live there. In Procrasti Nation. Actually, I live at the place pictured to the left. That is a picture of the first day of Spring. So I had most of yesterday off, all of today, and part of tomorrow due to all that white stuff (15+ inches and some heavy snow showers still to come tonight). Did I write? No, I did not. I read. I did the New York Times Crossword Puzzle, the mini, sudoku, and 4 levels of KenKen. I shoveled. I made chili (I always do on snow days). I inventoried the freezers (we have an embarrassing number of refrigerators and freezers and an even more embarrassing amount of food in them – someone should shoot me if I buy any meat for the next 3 months [except the hog I just ordered – we’re low on pork and they only slaughter once a year]). I read some more. In case any of you didn’t notice, I will point out to you that I had most of yesterday and all of today off from my day job but nowhere in the list of activities is the word ‘write’ except in the rhetorical question.

I am currently living in Procrasti Nation. Here of some funny comics about it (These 15 Procrastination Comics Are the Perfect Distraction). As if I need a distraction. And then I see our lovely 8LW Jeanne is a Golden Heart Finalist yet again for The Demon’s in the Details (she recently won for Demons Don’t in 2015). She is not in Procrasti Nation. She is in full-on work mode. Writing/editing/preparing-to-publish her three-book series of quirky, fun, yet dark, paranormals. 8LW Nancy just launched her fabulous new website. And is launching her Harrow’s Finest Five series.

I try not to be jealous. How can I be, really, when I have the opportunity and I contemplate a bath over the NYT Crossword and decide to shovel our ½ mile driveway by hand (not really – hired guy plowed, we shoveled cleanup) instead of choosing to write.

So how does one leave Procrasti Nation for, uhm what would it be . . . oh yeah, writing? How do you bust out of writing lethargy?

14 thoughts on “Michille: Procrasti Nation

  1. Thanks for the shout out, Michille. And don’t be too quick to applaud my progress. I keep scheduling other things in my writing time, which, back when I retired, I swore to myself I would keep sacrosanct. Today, for example, I’m heading to Columbus to go see a Wizard of Oz exhibit with my 2 and 1/2 year old grandson. Because time with grandkids is also sacrosanct.

    I’m also a bit stuck on my WIP. Which, technically, isn’t really a WIP because I’m stuck on starting the first scene.

    One question I always ask myself when I find myself procrastinating is: Why don’t I want to write? Because, if I really want to write, I’m pretty ruthless about blowing off everything else in my life to make time for it.

    So why don’t you want to write?

    • For your WIP, start with another scene. Didn’t you say you don’t write that scene first? As do why I don’t want to write. I’m not sure it’s that so much as the voices in my head are quiet right now. I can’t seem to jump start my creativity.

      • Looks like the folks below have come up with some great suggestions around creativity. One of mine is the symphony or an art museum. I don’t know why, because I know doo-wah about art and music (or maybe that’s why) but listening to a live symphony or going to an art exhibit. seems to rev me up. I don’t get the same effect from movies or plays. I think it’s because the other two aren’t word-related.

        That first scene. It feels like I need to figure out what happens there at least, whether I write it or not, before I can go on. And I’m getting closer. Yesterday I realized my protagonist didn’t have a scene goal, which explains why I kept writing backstory.

        • I’m with Michille. Write another scene. Any scene. Even an ending scene. Anything to get your mind into your story. If you go by mine, the beginning has changed so many times it’s ridiculous, so it really didn’t matter where I started.

          Just write. 🙂

  2. Michille…Don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes those times in Procrasti Nation are fruitful times of brainstorming. I’m reading The Healthy Writer by Joanna Penn and she talks about the mundane tasks we do and how important those are as well. Sometimes we get a ahh moment when we do those types of tasks.

    All that being said I live there a lot…far too long for my peace of mind, but I’m trying to be kind to myself and learn to do little things. I’m also reading a book called Get It Done by Sam Bennett and she discusses doing fifteen minute tasks.

    What I’m saying is not everyone’s writing journey is the same. I know we’ve all heard about the folks who say to write fast, but for me I have to be true to myself and I’m learning to be okay with that and my journey.

    There are also little tricks we can do. Bennett says sometimes she takes small task out of a hat and write just one thing. Sometimes I make note in my WIP to tell myself what and how I want to say something even if I can’t figure out how to say it at the time.

    • I just looked that book up on Amazon. It looks really good. I have trouble with my neck because of the way I sit and use my second monitor. And you have some good suggestions of things to try to get back on track. Thanks,

  3. Oh, boy, can I be Lady High Minister of Internet Goofing Off in Procrasti Nation? (Wait, actually, that’s exactly the position I want to retire from!)

    I am in limbo right now, and nothing is going to get done in the next two weeks while I travel to see family in the States. At least, I’m keeping the bar low. (-: I’ve packed a notebook and my laptop, of course, but I’m not going to try and force anything. Maybe just journaling, ala the Artist’s Way.

    (We have the snow on the second and now third day of spring. Wish we’d get some green.)

  4. Who would have the energy to write after they shoveled a 1/2-mile stretch of cleanup on a 15+-inch snowfall? Stand tall, girlfriend!

    My ProcrastiNation comes with exercise, not writing. Today is the fourth week in a row I’ve blown off tai chi class. My hip’s been bothering me, and I hate it when I make a move and I feel the cartilage in my knee grinding. But…hello, excuses. So I know where you’re coming from.

    I agree with jancat above that we need to be kind to ourselves. Take a deep breath, and enjoy your time off. And be safe out there!

    • I tend to put off exercise, too. I’m getting better by scheduling it with friends. I hike my a varying combination of sister/cousins/daughter every Sunday. Yoga that my friend teaches on Saturday. Zumba with some gal pals on Monday. But that leaves 4 days when I have to push myself out the door. I should figure out some way to apply that to my writing.

  5. Nice to meet you, neighbor. I’ve been living in Procrasti Nation for quite some time. Not exactly sure how to move out, but if you find a way, I’d love to here it.

  6. I was in Procrasti Nation and got myself out. Here’s what I did…YMMV.

    I went on a writer’s cruise. Okay, that may not be doable for everyone, but the point is that I got together with other like-minded writing folk. Just like you said exercise is easier done with a group of people, so it writing. I got re-energized listening to other people talk about their stories, successes, and struggles. I’m just like them. Good days and bad. But going on that cruise fired me up for writing and helped me steam ahead and get excited about my own story again. Plus, sitting around and talking story with a bunch of people generated some great ideas for my own.

    I started sprinting. This isn’t for everyone, and I certainly thought it wasn’t for me (“I need a 3 hour window to accomplish anything”), but I tried this during NaNo and managed to get 35K words down on paper…and every time I wrote it was a sprint for 20-30 minutes. I didn’t focus on how well I wrote, but THAT I wrote. Time for clean-up later. What was better was that a bunch of us who met on the cruise all sprinted together through FB. As a result of that, I created a FB group called The Sprintinators (anyone can join, just ask). Every day someone pops up to see who is writing — and there are folks from all over the world, so don’t worry that you’re not in the right time zone or no one writes at night. Sometimes I’m not writing at all, but I’ll “sprint” along to keep someone company. The positive energy that everyone in this group shares is infectious and when you limit yourself to 30 minutes (or less), you’d be surprised by what you can accomplish.

    Write what you like. I used to think I had to write my story from beginning to end, but I have since learned that I can write the scenes I like/am interested in/know what I want to happen, and then circle back and write the earlier ones later. This book has been written every way from Sunday (plotting, pantsing, chronological, spiritual, pragmatical, you name it) and what I’m getting from all of it is that it doesn’t matter how I *plan* to write the book, it’s going to come out how it comes out.

    The biggest motivator to get me out of Procrasti Nation was accountability. Having two CPs who send you their pages and ask for yours tends to light a fire under your butt. Meeting regularly to talk about your story lights a fire under your butt. Texting all the time about this idea or that lights a fire under your butt. It’s no different than exercise. Doing it alone is hard. Doing it in the company of like-minded folks is easier. It excites you. You look forward not only to the exercise part, but just the camaraderie of hanging with your friends.

    As my dad says, this, too, shall pass, and you’ll look back on the day when you weren’t writing and say, “Whew! Glad I got over that.” Try some things and see what sticks. And if you need a CP, I volunteer!

    • Thanks for the advice, Justine. Writing random scenes or sprinting might do the trick. I keep looking at the manuscript I want to be working on and the revision task is so overwhelming that I can’t seem to get started. Baby steps on other things may be the ticket.

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