Come on, ‘fess up. We’ve all had our moments or even days of procrastination. Writer or not, as soon as the words work or need to do enter our minds, we retreat into our procrastination shells faster than a snail on speed.
I’ve rumbled you because I know you. I am you, fellow procrastinating writers. Here’s the evidence…
Social Media is a Sly Bitch
Social media was created in order for procrastinators to worship at its altar. Many a time have I found myself saying, ‘I’ll just check my Facebook page’, only to become embroiled in a Facebook discussion, that lasts for hours, on whether the book or the film was better.
On a prime procrastination day, I’m ashamed to confess, I’ll even debate whether you put the clotted cream or jam first on scones. Do not write in the comments what your theory is. I will never finish my novel.
The problem with social media is that as writers we like to use it as a means of engagement, promotion, marketing, and keeping others updated on our progress.
How many times have I gone to my Facebook page to post something and then seen twenty notifications I absolutely must deal with before I write a post? Too many is the answer.
I dread to think how often Twitter catches me out with its sly collection of notifications overnight. They must be dealt with immediately. If they don’t get tended to upon waking, surely they will combust, never to be seen again?
As for Instagram, you vain little so-and-so; stop tempting me with your appearance. The shiny pictures are there, begging for the loving and commenting.
Nowadays I try to cap my social media time. I do it in the morning when I get up and am half conscious. No proper grown up writing is going to happen in those moments before the coffee works its way around my body, pinging at all the right spots like a pinball machine.
Therefore, groggy social media engagement it is, followed by a swift boot up the arse to leave it behind and get writing.
I’m no saint. Some days I kick social media to the curb easily, other days I have to drag myself away, kicking and screaming, particularly if someone is clogging up my feed by being a dick. Someone has to take the rubbish out.
When Even Housework is an Attractive Prospect
I had a rather painful ‘not feeling the writing’ day once which resulted in us having the cleanest and most shiniest kitchen cupboards, on the inside, where no one looks.
The fridge was sparkling. The tins were dusted and stuff that makes its way to the back of the cupboard and has a use by date older than a teenager finally got thrown away.
When I can’t write because the formation of words seems too hard, my house gleams. The thing is, I hate doing housework. I am a masochist. I love writing and yet there are moments where I ditch it in preference to doing the ironing.
In my house you’ll know what a big deal that is. I hate ironing with a fiery passion but I am too much my mother’s daughter to go out there into the world looking like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards. Darn those perfection genes.
So if you ever need the grouting on your tiles cleaned or your cutlery polished, I’m your woman. Only on procrastination days though. Otherwise, do it yourself, you lazy git.
When You Spend Your Day Watching Crap TV
Sometimes I wake up from my TV boggle eyes coma and I feel self-hatred when I clock what I’m actually watching. How can waiting for the results of another DNA test, with thirty different men involved in the outcome, on The Jeremy Kyle Show be more important than writing my novel?
Why am I watching repeats of a box-set I’ve seen twenty times over and know every word of, rather than editing my short story?
Why do I allow the malevolent self-loathing to take over when I catch myself watching a dodgy Channel 5 documentary about lazy people on benefits when I am just like them? Note: I am not saying all people who are on benefits are lazy, far from it. You know the kind of programmes I mean though, right?
TV has never been my friend. I watched it far too much as a kid and a young adult. When I was living alone and life was a bit shit, I’d have it on all day for company. I’m tempted to sing ‘All By Myself’ right now.
TV has played a large part in being a background to my life. I can honestly say that nowadays I don’t watch it as much. I am proud of that. Apart from the days when procrastination kicks in and working out if the person on The Jeremy Kyle Show has more tattoos than teeth suddenly becomes the most important thing ever.
Annoying People Become the Most Interesting Humans on Earth
Admit it. We’ve all looked at our call display, seen it’s that annoying relative or friend who talks for Britain (or whatever country you reside in) and not answered.
We’ve all concocted a reason for not answering when we finally have to pick up after their fifth attempt.
It’s amazing how many times you can be in the bath, eating a meal, driving, cat wrangling, or putting kids to bed (particularly when you haven’t got kids).
You know you’re having a full-on procrastination day when you practically jump on the phone the second it rings and bunker down for a three hour chat with Auntie Margaret.
Never has a one-sided conversation where you learn all about the structure of her bunions, how the Conservatives are scum, that her friend’s brother’s uncle has died, and how much rain she’s had in the past week, seemed such a wonderful thing.
Oh well, you can always put it all into a story if you ever actually get round to writing one.
You Spend a Shed Load of Money Online
Step away from eBay and Amazon when procrastination starts to tingle. You will find yourself buying all the stuff because you really need it.
Of course you need a juicer even though you hate fruit and veg.
How on earth did you ever live without an egg slicer?
What kind of existence has it really been when you’ve lacked a banana peeler all this time?
Procrastination can be expensive and frankly make you look a complete tool for, er, having tools that serve absolutely no purpose for making your life easier whatsoever.
Just buy books. Now that kind of spending is allowed. Tell your other half or the ones you’re accountable to that I said so.
Then You Wake Up One Morning and Do ALL the Writing
As long as full-on, crippling procrastination doesn’t hit, the good news is that once it’s over you’re back in business.
There’s nothing quite like the writing tsunami that comes after a drought. Then you can hardly keep up as your fingers fly over the keyboard, your brain whirrs frantically, and you’re grinning like an idiot because today is your day.
You are the bestest writer ever and nothing and no one can stop you. Well, not until tomorrow when you’re glued to the television awaiting the DNA results of the woman who claims that the father is her friend’s brother’s uncle’s dad.
You couldn’t make it up. Actually you could. Go write it!