You say “procrastinating” like it’s a bad thing…I prefer to think of it as an art

Literary non-sequitur newsflash: The Oxford-English Dictionary recently decided that the heart icon, LOL, and OMG are now “real words.”  Sign of the Apocalypse of the Day much?  I do not heart this. 

Anyway.

The first step to getting published is getting it written.  I have to remind myself of this CONSTANTLY.  Most of the time, I find myself getting really discouraged over the fact that I haven’t been published yet.  And sometimes–but, unfortunately, not ALL the time–I remember that I’ve not yet finished the novel I’m depressed about, or haven’t queried anybody about the kid’s book I have ready, or have only sent my handfull of “finished” short stories to about 3 journals each on average.  That is not a solid recipe for success.  I frequently forget that I’m not published yet because I haven’t really followed all the steps I have to take along the way: finsih the work, query an agent/publisher, submit the story to tons of journals (b/c publishing works kind of like reproductive biology: larger numbers ensure the sucess of one or two). 

Yup.  I TOTALLY just went there. 

Instead, I want to do what all lazy writers want to do which is write my stuff, sometimes finish it, and hope REALLY HARD that I’ll make it.  This has not worked for me quite yet.

I’m admitting all this kind of like an alcoholic stands up and goes, “Hi, my name is Bob….”  I’m coming clean about my procrastination addiction.  I’ve talked about this before, though I don’t think I’ve gone into specifics about my lazy habits to this extent.  I REALLY, REALLY want to get published.  I REALLY, REALLY want my stuff out of the closet for the world to ridicule.  But I also REALLY, REALLY wish there was an easy way to do it. 

Yeah, that’s right.  I wish it were easy. “But then EVERBODY would be published, even the terrible writing…”  Right, but I’D still be published, too.  (Besides, self-publishing already takes care of that argument.)

I decided to take a break today from telling myself how much my novel sucks and how nobody with any sense would want to read it to attempt to write on it.  Because first things first, right?  I have to actually write the crap before it can be complete enough for me to ridicule its entirity.  And I realized that I have a form of writer’s block that I hadn’t really considered to be writer’s block before.  I always thought WB was when you were so overcome by the magnitude/greatness/intimidation of what you want to write that the vastness of the blank white page before you renders you unable to start.  And I always thought that was for amateurs.  I’d see advice for how to overcome WB and think, “Psh.  Losers.” 

Now, I’m pretty sure that WB ALSO includes the part where you’ve begun your story and hit that scene you Just.Can’t. wrap your brain around.  And then you decide to work on a different scene as a break…only that one isn’t clear enough for you to write either.  So you decide to work, perhaps, on a bit of dialogue…only that character isn’t talking to you today.  So instead, you tell yourself, “I just need to get back into the feel of the story.  Yeah, that’s it…”  and reread back through what you wrote.  Maybe you get distracted editing (“Did I really just use seven adjectives in a row to describe that desk…?”) or maybe you just awe yourself into a stupor (“Man, I freakin’ LOVE this!  I wrote that paragraph LIKE A BOSS.  Look at the way I described that freakin’ desk….”) and decide that Hemmingway, Faulkner, and King have nothing on your pre-published talent. 

And still, nothing gets written.

That’s the more advanced phase of WB, I think.  You’ve started but can’t move past the plot holes or the sticky spots.  So you distract yourself with other stuff, like my favorite time-waster: “thinking about your story”–yeah, still not as good as actually writing it, genius.  Or working on your plot outline or character description (or other writers’ tool)–these can be useful…UNLESS you’re supposed to be writing, in which case, yeah, not very helpful.  Or Facebooking (my second favorite time-waster). 

Or blogging.

*Ahem.*  Don’t look at me like that.

…Er, right.

I think I’ll get back to that paragraph now.

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2 Comments

Filed under pointless griping, procrastinating, Writing

2 responses to “You say “procrastinating” like it’s a bad thing…I prefer to think of it as an art

  1. I know what you mean. Since I graduated, I have sent out work to about 6 places. I’ve spent relatively no time actually writing. I’ve just felt too exhausted emotionally to be creative.

    Lately, though, I feel excited at the prospect of summer and being off and able to write. I take this as a good sign. I must say though, I don’t have a solution to the not sending out work situation.

    Perhaps we should form a support group or send each other reminders to send out work/queries. Whaddya say?

  2. Micki

    I suffer from amateur WB – did you say there is an article for that? My favorite way to avoid writing is to read about how to write. 😉

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