Friday, February 26, 2010

Sure-fire Twelve-point Strategy to Procrastinate Writing


You'd think that we full-time novelists would happily run to our keyboards every morning, eager to open our book files and start writing.

Nope.

In fact most of the time we'd rather do anything but write. Most likely this has to do with how hard the craft is. Many other things are just so much easier. So if you're looking for ways to procrastinate, here's a sure-fired approach for how to sit at your computer all day and never open your manuscript file.

1. Start with e-mails. Well, duh. Most of us computer nuts are on at least a hundred e-mail loops. There are the family loops, the friend loops, the professional writing loops (dozens and dozens of these), the sub-loops of the professional writing loops, the sub-loops of the sub-loops of the professional writing loops. Not to mention the daily e-mails we get from subscribing to blogs, newsletters, and on and on. If you open your e-mails in the morning and see less than 200, there's something clearly wrong with your strategy. Put yourself on more loops. Subscribe to more blogs.

2. Proceed to Twitter. Make sure you're following and are followed by at least 7000 people. Make groups in your TweetDeck so you can keep tabs on what special people are saying. Respond frequently. If someone tweets, "I'm starved!" send them a series of tweets with the recipe for your favorite sandwich with homemade bread and mayo. When someone sends a link to a "hilarious video" watch it. A link to a news article? That's certainly worth reading. Got to keep up on what's going on--it's all fodder for the writing. Don't forget to find twenty new people to follow. Check to see who is new to following you.

3. Jump to Facebook. Check your home page to see what all your friends are doing. Comment on their updates. Find ten new people and request them to be your friend. Check your inbox and answer all messages. (Sound familiar? It's just like e-mails!) Check your notifications to see who's tagged you in a photo. Go see the photo. Comment on the photo. Recheck your notifications to see who's talked about you while you were commenting on the photo. Go to your wall and clean up all the stupid bling people have sent you. Ooh, eight new FBers want to be your friend! Check each one out and decide yay or nay. For those you accept, write each one a private message. That way you'll receive messages back. If you're lucky, they'll respond immediately. Then you can get a conversation going.

4. Check emails again. After all, the Twittering and Facebook activity has taken a long time. Dozens of people have emailed since your first pass.

5. Break for lunch and a walk around the block. Who can write on an empty stomach? And physical exercise gets the brain going.

6. Back at the keyboard with a full tummy, read all the blogs you follow. Comment on all the posts. Read all other comments and comment on the comments.

7. Choose your favorite blog post, hop over to Twitter, and send out a tweet about it. While you're on Twitter--my goodness, how much has happened since you were last there! Read the new tweets and respond. Check for new followers.

8. Time to oversee Facebook again. Refer to #3.

9. Wow, how the day is passing! Without leaving your computer, pull out a how-to book on fiction and read a chapter. Maybe two. Or three. You're learning about the craft. This is time well spent.

10. You have kept your inbox open while you were reading, right? And now e-mails have piled up again. Read each one and respond.

11. Egad, you nearly forgot! You need a blog post for tomorrow. And you haven't a clue what to write about. Surf the net, looking for ideas. When you don't find one, write a post about how to procrastinate writing.

12. Position your cursor over your manuscript file. Check your clock. Criminy, it's time for dinner!

No worries. Tomorrow is a new day.

30 comments:

Karen said...

Wow. How did you know?

Random Ruthie said...

Haha! I love it!
I do this quite frequently...

Random Ruthie
Scribe of the King

Richard Mabry said...

Gee, Brandilyn. Have you been stalking me?

Ralene said...

Ah...the life of a writer and computer nut. lol... I thought for sure you were looking over my shoulder--the day I promised I would get some writing done.

Nicole said...

Of course!

joannehuspek said...

You've been spying on me. You've just described my day.

Lynn said...

Love it! Now I know how to procrastinate my way through all my computer tasks like paying bills,taxes...
thanks for the tip!
And great site!
Lynn

Julie Gillies said...

And all the writers said, "Amen".

Sandra Heska King said...

I THOUGHT I heard someone behind me! I guess that was you. I think I was at step 6a--slumped and drooling on keyboard before moving to step 7!

Cassandra Frear said...

So insightful - you could turn this into a counseling course for writers.

Heather Kephart said...

Oh, hilarious! You just described my life right now!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

You caught me procrastinating!! LOL!

Ron Estrada said...

This is why the e-mail and browser stay off between 4:30am and 6:30am, that's WRITING time. Do not disturb the dad. Please leave a message after the "Get out!" Thank you!

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

*sigh* At least I'm in good company!

Bob Mueller said...

Hey! Are you stalking me or something? :)

vvdenman said...

Well . . . if it works for you, I might as well try it.

PatriciaW said...

Busted!

Erica Faraone said...

Guilty as charged! That's too funny, Brandilyn, and a great reminder to turn off distractions and WRITE. There's something to be said for single task focus! :-)

Sue Harrison said...

So glad you have learned to navigate the potholes of writing life or else I wouldn't have spent those delicious hours reading your stuff! Sue Harrison

His Love Extended--Julie Gorman said...

LOL...How hillariously true. Lord help us all.

His Love Extended:
Julie Gorman
http://hisloveextendedministries.blogspot.com

Diane Marie Shaw said...

Is there a camera on me? This is exactly what I do.
Why do I put off what I love to do? It doesn't make sense. Glad to know I'm not the only one who procrastinates.

Barbara E Brink said...

I'm leaving a comment so you have more to read.

Joanna said...

LOL. I'm doing it right now as I read your post and write this comment!

I need to be working on streamling my book Appendix. The whole manuscript goes in the mail Monday!

Good grief. I just read my e-mail and now am folling news urls.

I need to read your post first thing every morning!

Thank you.

Joanna

http://www.eatingdisorderrecovery.com

Mark Young said...

Here’s another great time waster: Newspapers,printed and on-line. Justification: Need to find that new idea for a novel. Read every paper you can grab. Read everything—obits, sports, travel. Search on-line for every interesting news article. Post or paste to "Ideas File." This is good for hours of procrastination, if not all day. Now, on to radio newscasters, news blogs, and television.

Deborah Vogts said...

Oh how funny! And so true. :( Thanks for incriminating all of us.

jessjokin@juno.com said...

Truely, I'm not here and I didn't just come over from facebook and I haven't read a chapter in my fiction craft resource today, after checking my email twice. ;)

Rita Gerlach said...

You are so right, Brandilyn. Too many distractions that steal time.

Christina said...

I thought it was just me!

:)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Yep, you definitely nailed this one!

Aimee said...

My goodness, you nailed this =)