Last week, we talked about how procrastination can get in the way of writing. This week, I want to explore how certain things might be considered procrastination, but really aren’t.
About a year ago, I wrote an article about how an idea needs to bake (so to speak) in a writer’s head before it’s ready to be written. I need to do this, anyway, and if I sit down and try to write that story before it’s ready, it will not go well.
Research can fall into the same ‘not ready’ category. So can character worksheets, planning/outlining, brainstorming, and pretty much any kind of preparation work that can be done before you sit down to write your story. I’m a firm believer that this prep work is still considered writing, even though you’re not actually writing.
Nick said last week that he only writes when he feels inspiration—I feel for ya, Nick, cause that’s a hard thing to break out of. :) As he astutely pointed out, this is a form of procrastination. However, waiting until you feel your story is ready is not the same thing. It might feel like procrastination at times, but there’s nothing wrong with waiting until your story is strong enough in your head so you can put it together without worrying that it will fall apart.
There is a fine line between the two, though, and it’s often difficult to tell the difference. But there is a way to put it to the test: sit down and attempt to write it. It might be difficult at first, but don’t give up right away. I’d say give yourself at least fifteen minutes, and then look to see what you’ve got. If you had to struggle through each and every word for those fifteen minutes, then your story probably isn’t ready to be written yet. But if you found a groove and the story started flowing, then you were just procrastinating. :)
So, are you guilty of procrastination? Or do you lean more toward the prep work and only feel like you're procrastinating? Or do you not have an issue with this at all? Do tell! :)