Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Procrastination: Time drain or creative consort?

Okay. Truth time. Some writers write. And write and write. Every day. Without fail. Some writers (read: me) SOMETIMES procrastinate. And procrastinate and then write. Maybe.

Many mornings I’m at my PC at 8:00 a.m. and never write a word until oh, say, 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon. Then I go like a house on fire.

On THOSE days, what do I do between 8:00 and 1:00, you ask? Well … I allow my finicky funky muse the time to … percolate, let’s say, on ideas. How do I do that? I play computer games, check e-mail, scoot around on the web … you get the picture.


There was a time when I whaled on myself for this horrible character flaw. I mean, I’ve always considered myself disciplined and driven when it comes to my writing. But the last couple of years, I’ve run up against this ‘procrastination’ bug more and more often. I’ve cursed it and fought it and begged it to leave me alone. It won't. What's a girl to do?

Well, something finally dawned on me. And it came as a real surprise. The bottom line is, I’m still selling books. Still making my deadlines. Still getting the job done. So, this begs the question: Is procrastination really all bad? The guilty part of my brain - the part that takes convoluted logic to new heights - has determined the following: Games are not time drains but creative consorts to my muse. All the time I’m playing, my muse is at work in the background and when I finally get down to the task at hand – voila, the muse is not only ready and willing but impatient to get to work. Consequently all of this procrastination MUST be part of my writing process. Talk about an epiphany!! Why, Spider Solitaire was suddenly justifiable. I'm not lazy after all. Cool! Seems a lot of people fall prey to the same bug. According to a recent google search, the following is a list of the 15 Best Places to Waste Time – in case you couldn’t find them all by your own self :o)

  4. The Internet Movie Database
  7. Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D Beta
  8. Triplets and Us
  9. RuneScape
  10. Rotten Tomatoes
  12. AOL In2TV
  13. HOT or NOT
  15. What Would Tyler Durden Do?

So, what about you? What are your time drains – er, creative consorts? And do you believe this line of bull or am I really hopelessly mired in denial?


Keri Ford said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lois greiman said...

I too have come to the conclusion that our minds are at work even when our fingers are not. I have a little daybed in my office. Sometimes I lie there with my eyes closed and contemplate the compexities of the universe. If someone comes in I can tell them I'm thinking without even waking up....errr....losing my train of thought.

Cindy Gerard said...

Lois - since you mentioned your daybed, I'll mention my loveseat. It's only 2 steps away from my desk. It calls to me. Daily. Most days, I resist :o)

Michele said...

I'm so glad to hear another writer say this! This is exactly what's going on with me lately. I've been feeling so guilty. I sit down before the computer, but find there are a million other things I'd rather do than write, then about an hour before The Boy comes home from school, I kick it into gear and do a little writing, (but really, so it looks like I've been working when The Boy walks in).
I, too, seem to get my work done, though. So, hmm... I think I won't feel guilty today!

Cindy Gerard said...

Yea! Michelle if I accomplished nothing else I lifted the guilt off your shoulders :o) And while much of the reasoning in my post is a bit of a stretch - I honestly think there might be more than a grain of truth in it. And it helps to think that and not beat up on ourselves so badly. I declare today a guilt free day!! It is thereby decreed! Go forth and procrastinate.

Helen Brenna said...

You guys are bad influences! Especially to a new writer like me. Geesh!

(Actually, I LOVE spider solitaire - I think because it makes me feel as if I have the power to make everything work out. Okay, so I'm delusional. What else is new?)

Debra Dixon said...

I cracked up when I read this because I wasn't able to get over here yesterday because my nose was to the grindstone for about 12 hours. LOL!

In my consulting business this is my busiest time of the year. And as far as the publishing company is concerned, lots of paperwork for the federal government and two states gets pushed through this office between Jan 1 and Mar 14. (g)

So, I feel very virtuous.

However, I just wanted an M.D. talk about maximizing your work without creating things like repetitive stress injuries. You should take a ten minute break after working an hour and give those tiny muscles in your fingers and forearms time to recover from the tiny stress injuries.

Plus you'll be more productive in the next hour.

Cindy Gerard said...

Deb - here's hoping you get your lazy day in the sun soon :o)

Michele said...

I took Cindy's declaration to a guilt-free day to hand and took a nap. I'm sure, while my eyes were closed, I thought about my story, or some story, or maybe just our wacky neighbor filling 6 large dumpsters with garbage from his house, but I did think of something story-like!


Wendy Richards said...

Nice to know I'm not the only procrastinator in the bunch! I've found that reading others blogs and spending a lot of time in my yahoo writing groups works quite well at distracting me from what I'm SUPPOSED to be doing. But I've been in a bit of a funk lately, and I don't like anything I write, so I figure maybe something I read will inspire me to create!

Cindy Gerard said...

Geez. I forgot about cruising blogs. Also playing with my cats. And my dog. Eating...:o) So nice to know I'm in such good company

Christie Ridgway said...

I now have new ways to procrastinate! Uh...thanks?

Cindy Gerard said...

You are so VERY welcome, Christie :o)

Keri Ford said...

I sleep, sleep, sleep, and then sleep some more!

The way I've got it figured, if my 'muse' is going to sleep on me, I might as well join her!

And to be honest, when I wake up from a nap, I usually come alive with a great idea and I'm ready to get some work done.