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In a Minute – The Delicate Art of Procrastination

Before I start on this month’s article, I’m just going to tell you about this.

I simply can’t sit down to write until I’ve checked my Facebook and Twitter accounts, caught up on what’s Legendary Shakespeare & Company by isolanohappening on the Fantasy-Faction forum, caught up on the latest British Fantasy Society news, read and replied to all my emails, popped in to my LinkedIn account, reconciled my bank account, cuddled the cat, drunk several cups of tea, selected some quality music, downloaded some more stuff to my Kindle, updated my Jam, read everyone else’s blogs, told the cat to get off my keyboard, cuddled him some more, checked out what’s on Pinterest and maybe just about now I’m ready to… damn. It’s gone midnight and I have to be up in the morning.  Maybe tomorrow.

So off I go to work, get home and then I sit down to write, but first I have to check my Facebook and Twitter, read my emails, cuddle the cat…

Come on, admit it. You have done something similar on at least one occasion, right? Oh really? More than one, you do surprise me!

So why do we do it? Maybe there is some kind of desperate need to break free of the lonely writer life that we lead, connect with the world, make a mark.

Yeah, right. Let’s face it, to be lonely you have to disconnect in the first place. It usually takes a few days to get people worrying, so maybe you could alternate some of those activities.

Well, alright, maybe not the cat, he’s going to demand attention whenever you least expect it, in a feline stealth attack. But you know this don’t you. If you don’t have a cat, well done, that’s one distraction off the list but I can almost guarantee that as a creative type you have found a way around that. Maybe you make a round of toast to go with that tea instead. Hmm… toast…dripping with butter…

OK, I’m back, sorry about that.

Oh, you guys would love the photo I just saw on Facebook, it was a gorilla on roller skates in a tutu, in a shopping mall. Tell me that wouldn’t make your life complete. It wouldn’t? So why do we get so drawn in when we have precious writing time ebbing away?

Kitten on the KeyboardYes, I know. I’ve asked lots of questions but that is because there is no single answer. Trust me, I’ve pondered on this. Yes, when I could have been writing. Still no answer though, so what was the point of that?

Aha! A question that I can answer. There was no point. It was a pointless waste of time and the end result was pure and simple frustration.

Damn, I didn’t get that short story finished in time for the deadline. That novel still lingers in the deep recesses of my brain, only to reveal itself in the depth of the night when I need to be sleeping because I have to work tomorrow. My article is a few days late because my over-tired, over-worked brain didn’t have the space to figure out what I wanted to say. I have a sneaky feeling that some of you are finding this sounds familiar.

There’s lots of tips and tricks around this and to be brutally honest, you do need to find the ones that work for you. Before you do though, there is something that you have to do first. Oh, here comes another one of my little revelations, ready?

You have to admit that you procrastinate.

There.

Feel better yet? Don’t worry, it might take a minute. Whoops, there we go again, pondering on whether we procrastinate!

OK, here’s the thing. We all do it, at some time or another. It doesn’t really matter if you blatantly admit it, or if you just fool your brain into acting.

Here’s a little anecdote, a little gem of wisdom for which I have to thank Robert Shearman.

Brighton West Pier at Sunset  by Justin MiddletonWhen Robert knows that he must get a story written (and believe me, the man likes to set himself challenging targets), he will take himself off somewhere nice, like, say, Brighton Pier. Then he’ll be looking at the view, marveling at the wonder of the waves and then he’ll whip out his notebook and bam! He’s written stuff. His brain didn’t even notice, and before he knows it, he’s back to the waves again.

Realistically then, it’s a case of fitting a bit of action in amongst all that inaction. It works for me, heck, I wouldn’t be part way up Mount Publication if I hadn’t written something, now would I?

Now, the cat’s gone, time for a cup of tea…

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3 Comments

  1. I’m going to comment on this. I haven’t been on Twitter yet, though.

  2. Avatar Quillet says:

    I’m going to comment on this, too, but first I have some email to check, and a cat to cuddle. Oh, and some plants that need watering. And some grass that needs mowing… *goes outside, whoops, there goes the rest of the day*

  3. Avatar BenGalley says:

    Hang on… let me just post this comment to Twitter before I post it here…

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