Writing Journal 56: Writers’ Procrastination

Writing Journal 56: Writers’ Procrastination

My writing journal for Tuesday, October 7, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Business as usual this morning. I started writing the mystery novel. I’m still not happy about the sleuth. However, I’ve come to a realization: I’m procrastinating yet again. Procrastination has many faces. It masks itself slyly.

Is there an all-in-one, one-size-fits-all solution to procrastination? No. Not that I’ve found. Our excuses always seem so reasonable. I’m writing a mystery for a client. He wants to do a series, so the sleuth I choose will affect other writers. Of course I want to do my best for them — leave them lots of opportunities for characters’ conflict — just as I want to do my best for my client.

It’s all so reasonable, and it’s all total BS. :-) More on procrastination and its evil ways later.

I managed 1,200 words. Everything takes longer at the beginning. I plotted out the crime, and created a timeline for it too. Timelines are essential in mysteries, otherwise you get totally confused.

Next, back to writing the two business books, one ebook, and the print book. I manage 2,100 words, which is great.

Honey’s sulking this morning; it’s raining. She hates the wet. I dish up her breakfast, which she ignores. She believes that I control the weather… I always get annoyed looks from her when it’s raining. :-)

Next, my own breakfast while dealing with a mile of email. I won’t be walking this morning, because of the rain, so I get stuck into dealing with it.

Phone calls, and a chat with the client who’s rebranding, and his new blog. I make some notes which Julia can send to him later.

Lunchtime, at the computer, while reading social media.

Coping with writers’ procrastination

Why do we procrastinate? The psychology of procrastination isn’t well understood. If you read towards the end of the linked article, it says:

“Recently the behavioral research into procrastination has ventured beyond cognition, emotion, and personality, into the realm of neuropsychology. The frontal systems of the brain are known to be involved in a number of processes that overlap with self-regulation. These behaviors — problem-solving, planning, self-control, and the like — fall under the domain of executive functioning.”

“Executive functioning” sounds interesting. Basically, it boils down to this. When we procrastinate, we believe our own BS, and don’t call ourselves to account on our own excuses — we don’t manage ourselves.

Coping with writers’ procrastination starts with looking for ways in which you’re procrastinating. I’ve found my journals immensely helpful with this, especially my bullet journal. If I see myself migrating tasks over and over, I know I’m procrastinating.

Then the question becomes: why? It’s important to write down both the question, and the answers you come up with. Your solution will take care of itself, as long as you document the “case”.

For example, I need to set up a new website; one of my own, rather than a client’s site. I’ve been migrating this task for over a week now in my bullet journal. So, I asked myself why I’m procrastinating on this. I came up with these reasons:

  • Too busy;
  • Too tired, after I complete clients’ projects and everything else;
  • I haven’t decided on my primary targeting for the site. I need to think about that;
  • I don’t know what I want on the home page;
  • Will I create a blog on the site? I don’t know. I need to decide, yes or no. (YET ANOTHER blog… Give me strength, please God…);
  • I need to decide on a theme…

Just by looking at the list, I can see procrastination in all its glory. I’m taking on yet another website of my own, and I’m avoiding that — I don’t want more work; I dread it. And yet, I’ve decided to do it, so procrastination achieves nothing. I need to clear time, and schedule it, and then do the work.

When you write down your reasons for procrastinating, they always look flimsy, so write them down. You’ll soon see a solution.

Onward, with more blogging

A client called yesterday. He wants a quote on three months’ worth of blogging. I need to do a scope of the work, and see where I can fit it in. I want to do it, on the other hand, I’m really booked solid. I decide to create the scope of work anyway. He might be OK with just a couple of posts to start, and then a fuller program in a few weeks.

After that, I get on with more clients’ blogging, drafting several posts, and requesting more images from the clients.

Christmas is coming

I meant to have my Kindle ebook of Christmas short stories well under way by now, but I’ve done no work on them for a few days. I spend a couple of timer sessions just writing — I’m well ahead on my outlines, so the writing is easy.

I love writing fiction; compared to other writing, it’s much less stressful.

After I return some calls to catch people before the close of business, I do my daily review. I need to get to work on my new website later on this evening. No more procrastinating.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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Author: Angela Booth

Copywriter Angela Booth’s clients tell her she performs “word magic.” Whether she’s writing advertising materials, Web content, or ghostwriting for her clients, she’s committed to helping them to achieve results, fast.

Author of one of the first books about online business, Making The Internet Work For Your Business, Angela’s written many business books which have been published by major publishers. She’s an enthusiastic self-publisher and writing teacher.