Procrastinating, and still getting it done…


Showy trilliums

Showy trilliums


I’ve put my first book on Amazon’s print and Kindle lists. Fine. I’ve started the process and on my schedule, too.

But if I were to to a critique of it, I would say it’s a bit thin; the male characters need more fleshing out the way I did in the beginning with the women; and it seems rushed to me.

I could have:
— done more in terms of developing the story line
— paid more attention to the villains
— given it more substance by fleshing out some of the scenes
— taken a little longer to write up the story itself
— made more of a conflict out of bringing together two small groups (5 women, 5 men) of disparate people into a single team

There are other critiques I can give it. However, I had an agenda: GET THIS BOOK COMPLETED. I stuck to that agenda. In some future time, I may do a rewrite that addresses all the items I mentioned, to make the story better.

I gave myself a deadline and I stuck to it. It may not have produced world-shakingly great literature, but I didn’t procrastinate. Procrastination is the biggest block to writing that anyone can imagine. There is always an excuse to not work on the short story or the term paper or, in this case, the book.

Laundry must be done. Dinner must be fixed. The dog needs walking. The cats need food. Friends are coming over. There is work brought home from the job. A new movie just started. The game is on, and it’s the championship.

I’m in the middle of procrastinating over a story that I started which is not going the way I planned it. I got stuck. I turned my back on, it. I’m still stuck. That’s how it is.

It doesn’t mean I’ll be stuck tomorrow or Monday, or next month, I’m just stuck now, so I procrastinate. And this is where deadlines are handy things. They put a guilt trip on you. Well, they do that to me. I look at my cats and at the clock and realize that they need feeding, and take care of that, and then I come back here and sit down, and I still have nothing to say so I procrastinate. I put it off. Tomorrow is another day, says Scarlett.

Well, no, it isn’t another day. Maybe getting stuck is a good thing. Maybe you need a few hours of not cranking out words. But what if you wrote one page a day? Or what if, as in Henry Beston’s first draft of “The Outermost House”, you agonize over a single sentence?

You don’t have to be brilliant 24 hours a day. You don’t have to set a schedule. You don’t have to follow a schedule, but you DO need to work on something. What’s my solution? Goof off. Go organize things. Clean the kitchen. Go for a long walk. Sometimes, just sit on the front steps with a pencil and a pad of paper and watch the sun go down.

You are not required to be brilliant at all, but a little guilt now and then about doing what you’ve chosen to do, about makinga habit of writing something every day will, in the end, help you with the very thing you were attempting to do: finish your book.

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