Honestly now, isn’t this a skill you need to learn? Of course it is! Every writer in the world needs to know how to procrastinate. I submit that it is one of the most vital skills you need to master before you can call yourself a writer. And it just so happens that I am a master at it and have much wisdom to impart to you. So gather, children, and I shall instruct.
Here we go, with items listed in no particular order. Pick and choose as you wish!
- Check email every five minutes. Because, you know, something important might have come in. Perhaps an email from someone in #2 will come in and then you’ll have even more reason to stall.
- Read writing blogs. There’s so much to learn! And cruising around all the writing sites is so helpful in this regard. Never mind if it doesn’t leave you any time for writing. You’re learning, for chrissakes!
- Read. While you’re in a reading mode, go ahead and pick up that novel. Spend at least an hour with it. Sink into it deeply. If a family member happens to come by and say, “I thought you were working,” give them a dirty look and say, “I am.” Because, you’re reading. That counts as work when you’re a writer.
- Watch TV. An excellent case can be made that this, too, is part of working when you are a writer. A bit more difficult to convince your spouse of this, but if they question you, say, “I’m studying structure and character arc.”
- Plan your life. It is SO important to have goals! Smart goals, achievable goals, good goals. And you must write them down! You want to publish six novels this year? Write down every single step associated with that goal in minute detail. Never mind that you’ll be so exhausted by the end of it that you’ll need #6.
- Have a drink. Writing is hard work and everyone knows that alcohol makes it easier. Right? Am I right?
- Clean. Oh never mind. That’s the worst idea in the world.
- Check social media. Because you never know what you might find on Facebook. The perfect idea for a scene in all those quizzes and stupid Gifs.
- Nap. Maybe you’ll have a dream that will illuminate your novel.
- Do something creative that’s not writing. Like knitting. Or drawing. Or coloring. Or stitching. Or gardening. Or building model airplanes. The process will inspire you.
And I could list many more. Like shopping, eating chocolate, walking the dog, organizing.
Okay, so all kidding aside, with the exception #1, #6, #7 and #8, all of these are things that actually do support a writing habit. But they are also so easy to sink into and convince yourself that you’re doing it for your writing, when really you’re not. You’re procrastinating. And only you can know when to say when.
What is your favorite way to procrastinate?
Photo by Rennett Stowe.