Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Welcome to the Procrastinatortium

When I'm shooting for a daily word count, it's not the final thousand or so that cause trouble. It's words 1-100, sometimes 1-200. In other words, getting started.

This is not a post about how to fix that problem. This is a  post about how not to.

For those of you wondering how to do it right, here's how to accomplish very little writing:

Step one: Read the paper over breakfast. All of it. Pause occasionally to play Word With Friends.

Step two: Check all your social media sites. Remind yourself that this is really working, because your social media presence is important. Go back and check Facebook again, because important things might have happened to someone while you were reading about the effects of climate change in Greenland.

Return to other sites to read a few trip reports. Drift off into a fantasy of loading up your backpack and hitting the trail.

Step three: Open your computer files. Set up the desktop how you like it. Look at the clock.

Step four:  Read a bit from some book on writing. That's important, after all!

Step five: Look at the clock again. Realize it's time for your coffee break. Pick up a book to read while making your coffee. Read a couple of chapters.

Step six: Work on your current writing project for at least five minutes. Remember you were supposed to do laundry this morning. Go put a load in the washer. Go to the bathroom. Pick up that book again.

Step seven: Oh, now it's lunch time! Fix and eat lunch.

Step eight: Time to go to the gym. Fitness is important. Add to the workout by kicking yourself repeatedly for wasting the morning.

Step nine: Now you're too tired to write. Writing requires a clear head. Take a nap. When you wake up, seven other tasks will demand your attention, unless they clamored for attention while you were trying to nap and prevented any sleep.

Step ten: Late in the evening, try to salvage something from the day by penning a blog post about procrastination. Let sit for a week or two before getting around to posting it.

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2016


  1. Replies
    1. Um, this may, just *may* be entirely based on actual occurrances.

  2. Ah, you've overlooked the all important 'ignore the project due next Tuesday in favor of the one not due for six months.' This is absolutely vital to building a feeling of dread and panic for next Monday night.

    1. Very true! I don't usually work under deadline, so that one is less crucial to my avoidance--except when it works to my advantage, as other aspects of my life DO have deadlines, so I may choose to ignore them in order to write novels.

  3. When I worked in management training, my training consultant sold it to all the managers as the 'washing socks' moment. When you'd even go and wash your socks rather than start. I've called it that ever since.

    But I agree with Jay as well. I have two of those projects sitting by my right elbow. That's why I spent the morning (and half the afternoon) writing, and the evening.... catching up on blogs - cos I have to, don't I?

    1. Ah, yes. Cleaning the shower, we call it. My spouse and I both experienced very clean showers while "writing" our dissertations (we didn't know each other then; we just both chose similar unpleasant tasks to prefer over actually doing the job at hand).


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