In addition to the grueling, harrowing process of character development, plot design, world building, and word-crafting, the most vital skill any writer can have is procrastination.
I’m completely convinced that the creative process – the real stuff, the actual making-of – happens between the pages, in the cracks of time when words aren’t being committed to paper (virtual or otherwise) in mad spells of frantic typing.
However, I am also completely convinced that there is a right way to procrastinate and a wrong way to procrastinate. For the record, painstakingly typing out “procrastination” at least one more time to make your SEO gauge go up a little might be on the “okay” list.
Good things for procrastination:
- I guess I can move these dishes from the sink to the dishwasher… let me just rinse them really good first…
- Oh crap, is my coffee cup empty again?
- Let’s see what’s going on in the news…
- OH SHIT DO NOT LOOK AT THE NEWS SHIT SHIT SHIT
- Did I switch the laundry to the dryer last night? I should go check on that.
- I bet my roses need a little watering, it’s getting so hot and dry…
- Socks obviously go on the floor, don’t they? All of them. Clean ones, dirty ones, they’re just automatically floor items, like tiny bits of furniture that the vacuum-bot can choke on.
- Oh crap, I need to clean out the vacuum-bot.
- And darn this sock that the vacuum-bot tried to eat.
- Dammit, the bathroom rug is coming unraveled, time to knit another one.
- How does my coffee cup get so empty all the time?
- Oh my god, this agent’s client list is a reader’s wet dream. I should definitely do my homework on this guy *heh-heh-heh*
Bad (or at least not best) things for procrastination:
- I should totally binge watch all the shows on Netflix.
- Oh crap! PlayStation Network has their own shows, too!
- Crackle? What’s that? Might as well activate it…
- “Rock of the Dead” means playing guitar to kill zombies? Challenge accepted!
- I wonder how many times I can burp in a row. Is the belching alphabet in my future?
- You know what I haven’t done in a while? Blog.
- Hm, I wonder if I can program the vacuum-bot to shovel the socks instead of eat them…
- Build a shovel attachment for the vacuum-bot out of cardboard, duct tape, and broken dreams.
- I wonder if the Dreamcast still works…
- Yup, totally does.
- I wonder how many of the Dreamcast games still work. I should test them all.
- Holy shit, how did it get to be 2017 already?!?
In fairness, sometimes the second list can still poke the inspiration circuits just like the first list can, but not as reliably. We all need a little procrastination to keep our juices flowing (unless, apparently, you’re Stephen King, who just spews words onto a page in a never-ending stream of consonants and vowels that magically form some kind of cohesive thing), but I think maybe a better way to approach is is to remember consciously that we’re procrastinating, and that procrastination has a purpose. If we’re open to receiving a little bit of inspiration from staring out the window while doing some dishes, it’ll come.
And now… back to submitting to agents. Five down, more to go.