Procrastination. We all do it. We all feel the acute shame when we’ve spent hours on Pinterest boards, looking at cat gifs and funny memes when the only thing we’ve written on our current project is the word “the” four different times. But, what if I told you that you are not crazy, that there may be a very healthy reason behind your procrastinating tendencies. Let the original procrasti-diva show you how!
Firstly, let me just say, as writers (and any other artistic type, really) we are creative minds. We are always thinking ten miles a minute. We simply cannot help it; its in our nature. Nothing (let me repeat!) NOTHING! is wrong with you. Growing up, I’m sure many of us were made to feel shame for this particular aspect of our personality. The inate inability to simply focus on one subject.
Our minds naturally tend to wander, that is because (they were probably boring, lets be honest) we were generating new ideas, new possibilities, and creating new realities. Purely logical thinkers can never truly understand this, so they tend to bash it. Don’t hold it against them; they think linearly (nothing wrong with that, I actually wish I could do that sometimes) but linear thinking often means missing other and often times incredible new opportunities. We each have our strengths and weaknesses, but never, ever! think something is wrong with you because you see things differently than others.
PHEW! Now that that is out of the way…
Procrastination is extremely helpful for a myriad of reasons. When we have a big project ahead of us, its only natural to procrastinate, because what lies ahead tends be so daunting. For example, in my current work in progress, I am crossing genres. Meaning, my WIP is historical fiction, yet is also a fantasy. Say wah?! Crazy, right? So my task then, is to ensure that I am true to the time period, true to the setting and being able to really capture the essence and lives of these real, once living people, while still incorporating fantastical elements. This is crazy! Historical fiction is hard enough. Fantasy dang hard enough! But to meld the two? Help me, Lord!
So, what do I do? Give up on my story? Write it off as crazy and never possible? No! Heck no! I’m trucking ahead, full steam. But, its daunting. And I often find myself procrastinating. When this happens, I let it happen. What I have come to realize is that procrastinating is not the enemy. It actually helps me.
“But, how does that work, Procrasti-diva?” You ask. Well…when I tend to slack off, and let my mind wonder to other things and doing other projects, what I don’t actively realize is that my mind is subconsciously collecting data. I tend to come up with some of my best ideas when I’m not focusing on the project at hand. That is how this current WIP was even conceptualized in the first place! What I find is that I often come back to my project with more ideas, and more importantly, how to execute them.
For example, I was having a really hard time with a chapter of my book. I agonized over it for days! You know the feeling, right? Wanting to throw the damn laptop across the room and stomp on it! Well, one day, I just got mad and decided to just go take a shower. Wouldn’t you know it, I came up with not one, not two, but FOUR of the major plot twists in my book. And, not only that…it gave me a way out of my current rut and breathed new life into the story, because I was so anxious to get to my twists. Best unnecessary shower, ever.
Along the lines of the above, I’ve had my best ideas due to procrastination. Are you having a dry spell? Trying to come up with a new novel? Short story? Poem? Procrastinate! Whenever I’m having writer’s block, I procrastinate to get my creative juices flowing again. One of my favorite places to do this is Pinterest. Oh, the thousands of undocumented hours. As a matter of fact, its my favorite place to go for character inspiration or setting inspiration. If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll see the fruits of my labor. Lol. Just seeing a picture, reading a quote, can naturally get the brain turning and before you know it, you are building worlds around that one thing. Its great!
Procrastination will shed light on which task/project is important to you or not. The thing about procrastination is this, eventually, you do have to stop. It may take you a while, but it will come to an end. If the burning need to do something wanes and you never even think about it again, it was never important to you in the first place. Purpose and passion help you overcome anything, so if you aren’t working on it, well…I guess you know where it stands.
Ever wondered which scene to cut? Which scene to keep? Any time I am editing, I always procrastinate before rewriting, revising, editing and deleting. Why? My work is my baby. I birthed it, watched it grow and nurtured it. I can’t imagine taking something away from it in a rush decision, so I have to walk away from it. Ponder over it. Agonize on it, before I make a single decision. Often, once I finish a draft of my work, I put it away for a few weeks. This gives me time to think, to clear my head and come back with a fresh prospective. Scenes I may otherwise have tossed, end up becoming integral, and scenes that I thought were the lifeblood of my work turn out to be trash.
Can you think of any more reasons why procrastination is good? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you! Until Next Time, Genesys Out!