Today’s blog post is courtesy of Rosie Somers, author of Pride: The Temptation Series.
Every writer I know does it, and in the spirit of keeping with my writerly nature, I waited until after 9 pm the night before this post was due to even start it. For the record, I was originally going to write about professionalism for the letter P blog post, but procrastination seemed more fitting. Why? Because of all my talents, procrastinating is what I’m best at.
So, why do we procrastinate. The simple answer is, the best ideas happen when they aren’t forced, when you can put them aside and come back to them. For many people, myself included, the creative process often involves an incubation period. Sometimes, what I need to write just won’t come. So, if you are like me and do some of your best work when you’ve procrastinated first, here is a top ten list of my favorite ways to procrastinate.
When I’m in full procrastination mode, I’ll read almost anything, whether it be submissions from my slush pile, manuscripts I’m beta reading for writer friends, new books, old favorites, or even news articles or blog posts. As long as it gets my brain working and my creative gears turning, I’ll read it.
I’ve been known to run into the craft store for a ball of yarn and come out with, say, yards upon yards of fabric with which I suddenly plan to reupholster the couch. Distracting myself with other types of creative pursuits helps me stew on writing projects. Everything from crocheting to clayworking to sewing; if it keeps my hands busy, it frees my mind to wander and imagine.
One of my favorite pastimes is binge-watching some of my old favorite shows. It’s like seeing an old friend for the first time in a long while, and being able to spend hours catching up. It leaves me feeling nostalgic and refreshed and ready for new experiences.
This is what I call it when I check my social media, see something interesting, and follow that something down a rabbit hole of web content where I get lost for hours. I fill my brain with useless and useful knowledge alike, some of which I’ll remember and some I won’t. Though, it’s usually the useless stuff that sticks with me the longest.
Okay, I’m not really much of a gardener. So, when I say “gardening”, what I actually mean is yard work like laying paver stones to create a patio or digging out hole for a pond and laying rocks for a fountain/waterfall. The bigger the project, the more excited I am about it, and all that physical labor wears me out so I can sit still and write for the next few hours after.
I’m going to be honest, here. I like to cook because I love to eat. But, there’s also something very relaxing about putting together a great meal. The best part is, since cooking doesn’t require intense concentration, I can let my mind wander at the same time.
- Window shopping:
I don’t mean window shopping in the traditional sense, not where I go to a mall or strip and wonder the stores looking a things I don’t intend to by. The windows I’m referring to here are browser windows. I love to peruse Pinterest and even review real estate listings and imagine myself in different places and living different lives. I love my life, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. But, part of being a fiction writer means putting myself in different shoes, imagining being different people and living different lives.
On the social scale, I usually tip more toward introversion, but spending time with my close friends, especially if I’m having trouble getting the details of a difficult story down, can help to renew my passion for my project. It gives me a break, a way to relax and put aside the demands on my poor, overworked brain so I can come back rejuvenated and ready to get it right.
This one would probably fall into the outlining category more than it would the procrastinating category, but it is in that gray area enough that it makes my top ten list. Sometimes, when I’m finding a scene particularly difficult, I’ll break out the old art supplies and draw a still shot of the scene. Having a visual representation of what I’m trying to see in my head helps me visualize the whole thing and makes getting the words onto the page that much easier.
Sometimes, the easiest way to break through writer’s block is to write something else. It’s entirely possible that all I need is to break from the piece that’s hard to write and focus on something that comes easily, another WIP, a piece of flash fiction, or even starting something completely new. The story will come when the story comes, and trying to force it doesn’t do anyone any good, and certainly doesn’t make for putting out my best work.
So, tell us, how do you like to procrastinate?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rosie Somers is a beach-going book addict who’s been crafting stories since before she learned her ABCs. When she’s not busy trying to bring the characters in her head to life on paper, she can be found volunteering with local animal rescues, crocheting funky hats for her friends, or eating herself into the poorhouse at Chipotle. Her fondest dream is to one day own a goat. You can follow Rosie on her blog, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.