Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How Writers Procrastinate

Paula conducts some research into writers and procrastination.
Last weekend (when I was procrastinating), I put a question on Facebook: What’s your favourite method of procrastinating instead of writing? I had 30+ responses, so procrastination is clearly a common phenomenon amongst writers.
Perhaps inevitably, over a third of the responses said ‘Facebook’. That made me wonder how many of us procrastinated BF (Before Facebook)!
Several people mentioned reading or researching. To me, those are actually a part of the writing process, as we are either learning from other writers, or ensuring the facts/information in our own stories are accurate. Maybe that is the acceptable face of procrastination.
Similarly, some replies mentioned alternative creative efforts e.g. painting, making greetings cards, gardening, baking, even transferring music from MP3 to a hard drive – or going to the gym. Now that’s what I call positive procrastination, especially, as one person said, you can think up ideas while you’re doing any of these things.
A couple of people (but only a couple!) said ‘Cleaning the house/bathroom/kitchen’ or ‘Tidying drawers’. One person said she convinced herself these jobs were very important, another maintained her procrastination included everything but housework!
Then we came to the real procrastination (in addition to Face book):
Emailing friends telling them I have writer’s block.
Making coffee
Going out to buy chocolate
Painting my nails
Chatting on Twitter
Doing the crossword (justification for that – ‘It’s still words’)
Watching daytime TV
Looking up Friday night specials
Angry Birds
Facebook games (and that’s not just me!)
And here’s the one I like: ‘Answering questions on Facebook about procrastination’.
So come on — how do you procrastinate?


  1. There's not just one way. You can always convince yourself not to do something!

  2. Playing around on the computer--mostly Facebook, but there are many other ways too!

  3. Ay yi yi, let me count the ways...

    Getting caught up in blogs.

    Checking the sales on previous books.

    Checking web-sites.

    Browsing through reviews of my own books on Amazon.

    Answering e-mail. It needs to be done, but it still takes time away from writing.

    Figuring out when the next book in a particular series is going to be released and writing it on my calendar.

    Same for upcoming DVD releases.

  4. Jen, there are too many ways to play around on the computer, even without FB!

  5. Debra, most of your procrastination is connected to writing in some way, so you are forgiven!
    I've just spent almost the whole evening doing (or trying to do) a 120 question quiz, which is nothing at all to do with writing!

  6. Procrastination is my second name, Paula! Can't write for too long at a time and I love TV in the evening and going out during the day at some point.

  7. My mad doesn't have spider solitare loaded, so I can't procrastinate with that. So I check emails, open the refrigerator to see if the genie has deposited any treats.
    In my defense, I sometimes think of the word I was grappling for.

  8. Rosemary, we have the same second name! I also tend to go out during the day (usually pub lunches with different friends) but in the evenings (which are supposed to be my writing time) I can easily find other things to do!

  9. The genie never deposits any treats for me, so I have to go out and buy them!