I’m going to tell you a dirty little secret: I like to procrastinate. If I don’t have an idea for the Saturday blog that thrills me, I’m perfectly willing to wait and see if something fresh pops up Saturday morning (which is still Friday night in the Americas, so something fresh often does pop up in people’s exuberance for the weekend). Procrastination often serves me well.
But when it doesn’t, it’s awful. A ton of pressure to produce 500 words of crap . . . I could have done that Thursday afternoon and saved myself the pressure!
And then there’s today, when something so wonderful happens that all thoughts of writing and blogging are driven out of my mind.
I had originally intended today’s post (which is late…note the procrastination topic above) to be about another copy editing challenge you can overcome (here’s my last one on apostrophes), but this article caught my eye:
Wait, what? All my life, my mother has hammered into me that procrastination is a time-management problem, and this article is suggesting otherwise?
I dove in and started reading. Because procrastination isn’t just a problem for me. It’s a skill I’ve unwittingly mastered. And I blame my procrastination on everything from attention deficit disorder to my two kids (I know, unfair, right?) to just plain having too much to do.
But it turns out, based on research, that procrastination is tied to your emotions. Continue reading →
As I have said before, if procrastination was an Olympic sport, I’d be the reigning gold medalist. Without a set deadline to aim for I’m likely to find a thousand and one things to do other than what I should be working on. Case in point would be the eleven books I’ve read in the last three weeks, rather than finishing revisions on my Regency WIP that I was on my To Do list (I blame Georgette Heyer and Jenny Crusie for that). The revision goal was something I had set myself so, other than being disappointed at not completing the task, there was no real consequence to it like there would have been had I missed a deliverable at the Day Job.
Way back in the McDaniel writing program days, I had my biggest word counts and most successful story development progress when there was a looming deadline. That’s nothing new for me, of course. Even further back, when I was doing software coding, I tended to do my best work when a deadline was closing in; often the night before something was due. Back then, reading was my primary procrastination device. “Let me just finish this chapter,” was my mantra.
Sometimes on the internet, you catch the most exhilarating wave. Image via Wikimedia Commons
I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about when I moan, “Internet Guilt.” Imagine that in a creepy font dripping with icicles and/or blood. Sometimes when I fire up the computer, it’s really, really hard to stay off the internet. I wonder if old-fashioned writers ever had that problem – they sharpened their favorite pen and set up their ink and paper with the best of intentions, and wound up writing to their aunt. Or their sister staying with their aunt. Or their sister’s dog who was staying with their aunt’s children.
I’m not going to argue for either side of the teeter-totter. All play and no writing is obviously not good for a writer. Nothing gets written. But on the other hand, all work and no internet is boring. And I would argue that it is bad for the writing – we need outside input in order to create texture in our writing, and the internet is one of the easiest ways to get input of all sorts.
The trick is to find the work/play balance somewhere in the middle of the teeter-totter.