Amber Skye Forbes

Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes

The Madness of Procrastination

With this cat by my side, I will...ooh, kitty!

With this cat by my side, I will…ooh, kitty!

I procrastinate. You procrastinate. We all procrastinate! Okay, maybe not everyone does, but I know I do. The internet is enticing. That is my procrastination downfall. But that has an easy solution: disconnect myself, then I won’t feel so tempted to retreat to it. Heck, I’ll even reward myself by going to get a snack if I can write five pages or whatever without retreating to the internet. But I know some people’s procrastination is getting up to get a snack!

When procrastination starts to happen for me, it’s because I’m not as involved in the story as I ought to be. Either the chapter doesn’t interest me much because it’s moving too slow or I have better ideas but it’s too late to implement them because I’ve already started the chapter–which is where revisions come in.

Procrastination happens for a reason because we find whatever it is that we do to procrastinate seems more appealing than what we’re writing about, and that is problematic. If we don’t find what we’re writing about to be more appealing than, say, cat pictures, readers likely aren’t going to find it that appealing either. So it’s your job as a writer to make your writing more appealing than the cute kittens that litter the internet.

One way I try to make my writing more appealing since I hate rough drafts is to put revision notes in the margins. This makes me excited for the revisions so that way I can rocket through the draft to get to my favorite part of writing. If I try to incorporate my revision notes into my rough draft, I may never finish the draft. For me, the rough draft is a more detailed outlined. That’s all a rough draft is for me.

I do my best to make my writing more appealing than the cupcake out in the kitchen, or the mail waiting for me in my inbox, or my own cat, even my own fiancé (hey, we all seriously need writing time, or else we’ll never get anything done!)!

You can tell I don’t really like giving tips. I like to find out why things happen and prevent them. It’s your job as a writer to figure out why you’re procrastinating, and then take the steps necessary to prevent it. Whether it’s disconnecting yourself from the internet, keeping snacks in your writing area, or finding out why you’d rather be looking at picture of cats than writing, ultimately the way to avoid procrastination is yours. Not mine. Not anyone else’s.

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8 comments on “The Madness of Procrastination

  1. Mariah E. Wilson
    April 30, 2013

    Revision notes in the margins!!!! ERMAGERD!! You are a brilliant one aren’t you! You just save me stopping my story to rewrite half a chapter to change one detail. AHDJHDHFIHDH! I have this “unless it’s perfect I can’t go forward” problem that I’m trying to overcome! 😀

  2. yukazshadow
    April 30, 2013

    I love this. My favorite line: “So it’s your job as a writer to make your writing more appealing than the cute kittens that litter the internet.” Though, that sounds like quite the daunting task. I think if I was having any of the adventures I’ve read about I would still have to allow a momentary pause to look at a cute kitten by the wayside. This includes being chased by dragons. After all, it’s such a cute kitty…I must pause my fleeing for a moment to…save it…yes, that’s what I’d be doing. The dragon might eat it.
    At any rate, I love your take on this. For me, I think my procrastination stems more from self-doubt, and I am finding it easier and easier to write as I deal with this.
    Also, love the background and the picture you posted for this. 🙂
    Keep on writing!

    • amberskyef
      April 30, 2013

      I actually had a cute kitten pic in the post, but it wouldn’t show up for some reason. I will admit cute kittens are hard. My own cat is a distraction, but I try to throw myself as much as possible into the adventure. But good for you for managing self-doubt! For me, managing it came with experience and confidence–and some outside validation.

      • yukazshadow
        April 30, 2013

        That is about how it has been for me. My husband has been the most amazing help with this, though I still maintain that he’s biased.
        Unfortunately, my cat has opted out of being cute in favor of being dangerously obnoxious and picky. I wish she’d go back to being more like a dog… Luckily, this means she doesn’t distract me much from my writing…unless she sits in my face.

  3. Dianna Gunn
    April 30, 2013

    Hi Amber,

    This is a great post, though I’d argue that cute kittens are more interesting than even the best books… Though, usually only when they’re in the room with you and trying to cuddle.

    ~Dianna

    • amberskyef
      May 1, 2013

      I’ll admit cats are my weakness period, but we must persevere! We can’t let the cute kittens defeat us.

      • Dianna Gunn
        May 1, 2013

        Well, we can’t let them stop us writing. We must however acknowledge that they actually rule the world.

  4. Creative Mysteries
    May 1, 2013

    I like taking notes in the margins too. 🙂 It’s something I have to do now, so I can finally get something done.

    I like your perspective on procrastination. Perhaps I need to liven up my writing sessions? Maybe then I’ll stop surfing the Internet so much.

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