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. Continue reading

Elizabeth: I’ll Get Right On That

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.

These days, with so many things clamoring for attention – Continue reading

Elizabeth: Procrastination is my Super-Power

Now_Later_ProcrastinationI saw a sign the other day that said “I put the PRO in procrastination” and thought it described me perfectly.

Despite well thought out plans and schedules, my natural tendency is to put off tasks, especially creative tasks, until the last minute (or close to it).   Whether it’s waiting until the very last second to get up in the morning, or starting a writing task in earnest just before a deadline, procrastination is definitely my super-power.

A quick sweep of the internet turned up a number of quotes warning of the dangers of procrastination and making the case for getting to work and getting things done. Continue reading

Michaeline: The Value of Surfing Writing Blogs

two girls surfing on a fair day pure happiness

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.

Yesterday was a case for judicious internet for me. Continue reading

Michaeline: Heigh-ho, Trigger!

Queen Isabella in a luxurious riding habit on a horse, surrounded by supporters

Heigh-ho, Trigger, away! (Oh, yeah, Trigger was the cowboy’s horse. Still, same concept. Get on the horse and ride.) (Queen Isabella brought to you via Wikipedia Commons.)

I’m talking about anti-procrastination this month, and I’ve got another link-heavy post, but I hope you find it useful. Last week I talked about using hypnosis to boost your motivation. I know it sounds crazy, but many writers talk about how the process of writing is a trance. In this YouTube video, Stephen King said, “You fall into a kind of a trance if you do the same passes over and over.” He’s talking about setting up habits and triggers. Eating breakfast with his wife, having a pot of tea, and so on. These things tell his backbrain, it’s time to write.

Musician and novelist Nick Cave also called the creative process “an altered state in itself” when he talked with NPR recently. “I wake. I write. I eat. I write. I watch TV.” It’s worth listening to his interview to get a really no-nonsense sense of process (and be sure to read the transcript for extra thoughts).

So, if writing is a trance, it helps to set up triggers to put you into this trance. Continue reading

Michaeline: A Magic Bullet for Procrastination?

St. Jerome wonders if there's any yogurt left in that pot next to the hearth. Via Wikimedia Commons. By Leonello Spada.

St. Jerome wonders if there’s any yogurt left in that pot next to the hearth. Via Wikimedia Commons. Leonello Spada.

Um, no. But, it might be helpful.

We’ve talked about procrastination before, but this article from The Atlantic online suggests that it is perfectly normal for writers to be procrastinators. And there are two helpful hints for overcoming procrastination.

1) Set your deadline to begin slightly AFTER the time you should begin in order to shock yourself into beginning. (I’m one of those persons who sets a few strategic clocks ahead a few minutes to make myself believe I’m running late so I move a little faster. Well, that’s the theory. What actually happens is that I set my clock two minutes early, say, “Oh! The time! Oh, yeah, I’m OK, I still have two minutes.” And still wind up five minutes late. I realized the folly this year when I read this old Dear Prudie column, and started setting all my clocks for the right time, AND THE WORLD DIDN’T FALL APART. This advice for setting alarms a little later might work for me, now that my clocks are all on the right time.) Continue reading

Michaeline: Motivation and Bunnies and Cheetahs

Well, first, I’d like to direct your attention to this article about writers and procrastination – particularly the part that hints that successful artists are ones whose “fears of turning in nothing eventually surpasses their fears of turning in something terrible.” A valuable distinction (-:. It helped jump-start me this weekend. Another form of motivation is that I’m writing this because I believe in the cause Jilly blogged about last week: encouraging kids to write. This post gives me a great excuse to plug the contest again. And the third form of motivation is that I made a deal with Jilly. (-: I can’t let her down! I’m sure you’ve heard of the buddy system for motivating you to exercise. Well, this is along the same lines. So, with no further ado, I present my story, such as it is. If you remember the rules, it has to be a short story, 500 words or less. And I decided to try to use the prompt words wind, bunny, cheetah, hospital and relieved. OK, really, seriously now, no further ado:

Bunny Blavatsky, Psychic Photographer, and the Cheetah Girl

Before Bunny Blavatsky could wind her way down the long row between the iron hospital bedsteads, she saw her quarry in the last bed sit up, the sheet slipping down to reveal the freckled angry flash powder burns on her neck. The girl pulled Continue reading