Monday, September 12, 2011


Okay, first of all, as anyone who knows me will tell you, having me write about procrastination is pretty hilarious, simply because in life, I don’t do it. My Type A personality won’t let me. When planning my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, I created a timeline that started six months to a year before I actually had to start, just so I wouldn’t miss anything or stress about the potential of missing something. As editor of my Temple’s newsletter, I’m famous for riding anyone (especially my Rabbi) who misses the deadline, and when explaining to new contributors how important it was to turn something in on time, I told them that if they were sick, make their spouse write it for them and hand it in.

So, why am I writing about this topic, and more importantly, why did I actually VOLUNTEER for this one? Because apparently my writer self hasn’t met my other self yet. And while I don’t procrastinate in real life, as a writer, I have found so many ways to procrastinate that it’s a wonder I get anything done at all.

I don’t procrastinate on deadlines for my published or soon-to-be published things. I hate making people wait for me almost as much as I hate waiting for others, so when my editor tells me to do something, I do it right away. But on my work in progress? Oh, boy. I sit down at the computer and open the document and before I can even start to type one word, I think of something else to do. So I do it—laundry, making a phone call, etc. Then I return to the computer, reread what I last wrote and type a sentence or paragraph. And then stop to check my email.

Email should only take a few seconds to check, except that I’ve joined a bunch of writer’s loops and I get lots of emails throughout the day from them. The loops are necessary because they have a lot of important information on them. Plus, they’re a great way to market myself and my work to other people. But sorting through the emails takes time away from my writing, so I’ve tried to delete anything but the most important ones. I’m hesitant to use the digest method because I’ve never done it before and I’m afraid I’ll either miss something or spend a longer amount of time sorting through everything. My critique partner emails me her comments on my work and her chapters for me to look at, so those I try to read right away, even if I don’t act on them.

I go back to my writing, only to be distracted by Facebook, the biggest timewaster of them all! Through Facebook I’ve also joined writer’s groups and have my author page. Some of the groups have huge numbers of people, who post constantly. There are blogs to read, comments about my writing to answer and myriad ways to get distracted, especially when my own writing is not going so well. But again, I’ve found Facebook and its groups to be helpful to market my books and blog and website. I get a lot of comments about my writing, which gets my name out there, which hopefully sells my books. It just requires a lot of self-discipline to stick to what I’m supposed to do, when I’m supposed to do it.

I’m not sure why writing lets me procrastinate as well as I do. Maybe because I’m not happy with my story right now and the amount of work required fixing it is daunting. Maybe because my brain is tired (or my body) from lack of sleep and stress. I will say that now that I’ve printed out the first (horrible) draft and started to look through it, I’ve found parts that are less horrible than I thought and they’re inspiring me to go back to it. Slowly.  In the meantime, I’ve got email to check, Facebook comments to make and oh, Twitter to consider!


  1. Great post, Jen! I'm sure your WIP is not as bad as you fear. And congratulations on being such a non-procrastinator in life!
    I don't do Facebook because it would be another excuse to squander the free time I have. That I want to spend editing my WIP. After one more hand of spider solitare. I'm up to 26% win ratio...

  2. That was a wonderful post! I laughed. I procrastinate the same way. I'm growing bored of Facebook though. I check it only once a day now. Email, on the other hand, I check way too often!

  3. Thanks, Ana, but really, the WIP is pretty bad. And, have you tried Bejewelled Blitz? I'm afraid to even look at it anymore! ;)

    Christina, glad you enjoyed it. I think my fondness for email has to do with the idea that someone wants to talk to me! :)

  4. Hi,

    Hee hee, I don't have time for procrastination nor much time for Facebook/Twitter etc. I do my procrastinating here at HWH: kind of! ;)


  5. When I was still working, I was organised like you, Jen. I made to-do lists, and I did them, often well ahead of any deadline.
    With retirement came the art of 'never do today what you can put off until tomorrow' - so now I procrastinate in real life as well as with my writing.
    I don't participate as much in the loops as I feel I should (by the way, I get the digests and not individual emails from these), but I do enjoy the FB writing groups (even though my contributions tend me spasmodic). As you say, social networking is part of marketing and getting your name know.
    And how's this for an excuse - I try to kid myself that playing Pyramid Solitaire is my 'thinking time' - hah!
    The only consolation seems to be that most writers are procrastinators. I used to think it was just me!

  6. I'll buy that excuse, Paula! And I think there should be some law that if we all do it, it really isn't procrastinating.

  7. I'm not in any loops--but FB has me in several groups. I'm not a professional writer--yet--but I plan to get there I just have trouble squeezing in any time to devote to the novels I've started.

    I find that I have a pretty full life right now. Work, Homeschool, house, 5 kids, and FB to attend to. How did that become a priority? LOL? But one day, when the kids are grown--I do plan to write out these novels I've started. I would love to make time now--but I feel I'd be missing the best part of life. Until then, I blog and fiddle--and get up the nerve to put my work out there!

    Great post by the way! Cheers, Jenn.

  8. Jenn, it doesn't sound like you have time to procrastinate! I think your life is pretty good as it is, and your writing is terrific!

  9. Sorry for being late to the party this week, ladies. (And no, I haven't been procrastinating, it's just been a busy week!)

    The Internet is often the death of me when I sit down to write. I think...okay, I'll check e-mail, post on a couple of blogs, and then get going. Trouble is, I tend to get side-tracked with those other things, and nothing gets done on the writing side of things.

    When I finally came out of the dark ages and purchased a lap top, I designated it for writing only. I purposely didn't put virus protection on it so I can't access the Internet. It's a writing only tool, and has been a valuable strategy for getting things done.

  10. A laptop without Internet access is a great idea, Debra. I was afraid to do that because I thought I'd need the Internet for research (I think my brain just really wanted to play), but I think I might try it next time.