Thursday, January 17, 2013

Procrastinate no more

I bet this word is very familiar not just to writers but everyone in general. I imagine we’ve all been there at one point or another, especially when life gets in the way.

I read a column by Judy Christie, author and consultant, who writes inspirational fiction and nonfiction.
She says that she noticed bestselling authors had something in common. Despite differences in genre, style, voice, settings, or characters, they developed a writing habit.

A writing habit, that’s the secret! (It’s not really a secret, most writers know this). I hate to admit it, but I am a procrastinator. Hello. My name is Claudia and I’m a procrastinator.
Ms. Christie's experience, however, helped me rid of that sense of guilt I had. I am entitled to procrastinate as long as I don’t make it a habit.

This is what she had to say:
After years of procrastination and fear, that lesson helped me write my first novel and five since.

When I flounder as a writer, it’s because I’m inconsistent with my daily writing discipline. When I produce my best stories, I rely on that basic lesson from the masters – words on the page.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit that on my most rewarding and productive writing days, I use a kitchen timer, set for an hour at a time. I track how many hours I actually write — as opposed to time spent Tweeting, Facebooking or wandering around my friends’ blogs.

You’d think at age fifty-five I wouldn’t need such a trick, but, after all, it took me fifty years to write a novel.

Are you a procrastinator? Have you overcome this habit?


  1. Yes, I am a procrastinator, but it's not always been like that. I've been as of late.
    After a life of never procrastinating, of always doing what had to be done when - or even before - it had to be done, I realized that procrastinating a bit will do no harm. On the other hand, there are things for which procrastinating is out of the question. Totally out of the question: those are the simple things, the trifles, the unimportant ones. I will procrastinate when it comes to booking an audition, or to send our resumes for jobs interviews, but if I know that there's aurora borealis for three days in a row at 4 in the morning, I'll be the first to wake up to take in the glory of it from the very first day! If I know I can find pebbles shaped as hearts, I'll rush out right away to the riverbank to find some for my mother and for my love.
    There are things for which one just cannot procrastinate.
    Writing sure is another one of them.

  2. I'm as guilty as the next man, or woman. When the work is going slowly, duty and guilt keeps me largely in line. Facebook and blogs are a reward after my 800 - 1000 words have been written. No doubt about it, habit is everything.


  4. I procrastinate, too, Claudia. In my case, it's a cover for fear-- I often procrastinate even more than usual when I'm about to finish or begin a project (the most scary parts for me!).

    Setting a timer is an excellent idea. Why haven't I thought of that? Unplugging the internet would also serve me well. Thanks for sharing. :)