Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Purpose of Procrastination, or Welcome to My World

If procrastination were an art form, I’d be its most sought-after Diva.

The internet snares me sometimes; okay, often. What begins as “research” or “networking” turns into mindless surfing to avoid the glaring blank page I should be focused upon. Today, however, the page hasn’t been blank. It hasn’t glared, it’s grinned. Because it's been filling up with words.

Yesterday’s mindless surfing--as I waited to get my groove on--resulted in a visit to cafepress.com where I viewed lots of funny stuff—t-shirts, posters, etc., which made me laugh and then, unexpectedly, made me close down my Google Chrome and GET BACK TO WORK! You see, I saw this inspirational mug. I know, silly. But go with me on my wave of procrastination. It said, “The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be written.”


There are two conferences I would love to attend—would love to have fresh, finished, polished manuscripts to present to editors—but my characters have been strangely silent the last few weeks. Or perhaps, just perhaps, they’ve been screaming and I’ve just tuned them out. One manuscript is over half-way complete, the other, about one-fourth. I know how they end, both of them. Point A and Point D are clear in my mind. It’s that stubborn Act II—those Points C&D which have my knickers in a twist. So I keep going back and polishing what I’ve already written rather than adding to it. My word count goes up and down, but stays within a range which accounts for precisely zilch… NO FORWARD MOTION!!!

Until yesterday, when I happened upon that quote.

“The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be written.”

Preach it.

And that forward writing motion has continued into today. Thanks to not wanting to sit in a smelly shop and wait while my tire gets fixed, I’ve written a book review, finished the new scene I labored over yesterday, and almost have another new scene completely ripped. I feel good. Yet I’m still procrastinating on that blooming tire.

Good news, however. I have the next two days off work. I have a 10,000 word goal this week, and I’m sitting pretty at over 3,000 gloriously unedited words of first draft material so far. Also, I have obtained the newest Kristen Heitzmann novel, INDIVISIBLE, from my friends at Amazon.com, which I can take with me to the smelly tire shop.

When all else fails, make sure you’ve got a book handy.

Perhaps this is the story of my life—always putting off something to focus on… something else. Sometimes my procrastination has a purpose—a respite from stress, a step back for reflection, a bandage for the bleeding when what I’ve written has sucked me dry.

Today, however, I’m writing and putting off what I should be doing. You see, my minivan has a flat tire. Seriously flat. As in, I-almost-got-stranded-at-Wal-mart-yesterday flat. I need to get it fixed because there are piano lessons tonight and I’m the only available chauffeur. I’m procrastinating on getting my tire fixed. I know. Stupid. But look at all I've accomplished through the art of diversionary tactics!

But, alas, I have to get it fixed in time to pick up my kids. In exactly two hours.

What am I still doing here?

Oh. That's right. Procrastinating.

1 comment:

Tracy Krauss said...

You and me both, baby! I wrote a blog on my own perils of procrastination just recently. It's tough to be a writer when life gets in the way!