Procrastination Anyone??
I scrubbed my kitchen today. Scrubbed it! Merely doing the dishes and wiping down the counters wasn't enough, I had to get out the spray bottles and move every single thing off the counters to clean behind them. I washed down the microwave and the stove top. Halfway through the clearing off the cookbooks and coffeepot and paper towel holder, etc. etc., I realized I was deeply into procrastination mode.

It's not that I don't know where I'm going in my current wip. I do. Yet I've been struggling with the first scene in chapter seven all week long. Not sure why. Is it any surprise that since I had the whole day ahead of me to write, I would, instead, be scrubbing my not-that-dirty kitchen?

If you look for a definition on-line, you'll come up with several definitions of procrastinate. The first is pretty simple: "to put off till another day or time; defer; delay." OK, I can go along with that. Talking to other writers, I've found that a clean house is often a result of procrastinating. If the writing isn't going well, at least you can eat off my kitchen floor.

Another definition says that to procrastinate is: "To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness." Lazy? Did you see the work I put into that kitchen? I used some real elbow grease in those corners, I'll have you know!

But what about my wip? Have I been lazy with the story telling? Rather than dig in and work on characterization and conflict, have I been taking the easy way out - watching movies or reading someone else's book or cleaning the kitchen? Um...maybe.

So after I finished with the kitchen, I sat down at my computer, determined to make my minimum word count of 1K (which I haven't hit all week!) - no more procrastinating. By the time I took a break to walk with my husband, I'd written over 2 thousand words. I'd finally finished the first scene, and the second, and was well into the third. It felt good. Better than a clean kitchen, that's for sure!

So do you ever slip into procrastination mode, whether with your writing or with something else you'd rather delay? And when you procrastinate does it result in a clean house or something else?

20 Responses
  1. Emma Leigh Says:

    Procrastination is my middle name...I do tend to find that when I'm stumped with a scene in my writing, I turn to something else. I either start surfing the web or go sit in my rose garden. This certainly hit home for me as I put off diving in my current ms this weekend when I had the whole weekend to write. Great post!

  2. Amanda Says:

    After many years of successful procrastination, I have discovered that, for me, it comes down to fear. I'm afraid that when I start writing that scene, it's going to stink. But not writing it is going to make me feel like an even bigger failure.
    Still - as long as I get down to it with a minimum of avoidance, I try not to be too hard on myself. After all, how much self-flagellation does one writer need to endure?
    And my hallway desperately needs a coat of paint!

  3. LOL Next time you feel like procrastining, you could come over and clean my house. I have hard time dragging myself from my writing to clean it as often I should. Fortunately I'm going for the cozy, lived in look and not the cover of a home design magazine. Great post!

  4. Maria Says:

    I admit to being a procrastinator.
    Usually about something I don't want to do that I have to do. For some reason having to do something makes me resent it to some point.
    Yes, I too clean when I procrastinate, or sometimes I read but eventually I will do what has to be done.

  5. susan Says:

    I am facing Procrastination right now. I have to sort out my dresser drawers and get rid of things I no longer want or can wear. I tell myself each night that I will do it tomorrow. Well next night I repeat the promise to myself. I will get it done but not sure when. I hope the spirit moves me to do it soon. ha ha susan L.

  6. Carly Carson Says:

    Anything is procrastination worthy in my world. Though the things I really hate to do are paperwork chores (not writing) like renewing licenses, reconciling insurance statements (shudder). There's no solution but to think about how good you'll feel when it's done.

  7. Nicole North Says:

    Great post! Yes, procrastination is a problem I've had to work hard to stamp out. Actually, I continue to work at it. But it's the enemy of productivity, which I really want. I rarely procrastinate by cleaning because I dislike that far more than writing. LOL Ways I procrastinate... watching TV, updating or redesigning websites, blog hopping or web surfing, reading emails, etc. Okay, back to work! :)

  8. Helen Says:

    The only time I find myself procrastinating about writing is when I'm at the rewrite stage. When it's all new I can just fly through it and enjoy every minute of it. But when I hit the rewrite stage, it's amazing the things I can find to do. Housework isn't generally one of them, tho!


  9. Natasha Says:

    Hi Emma. It certainly is easy to find something else to do. I'm glad I'm not the only one :)

  10. Natasha Says:

    Hey Amanda! Fear plays tricks with us all the time. Oh, to be fearless! (good luck with your hallway.)

  11. Natasha Says:

    LOL Stina. My house would never make the pages of a decorating magazine!

  12. Natasha Says:

    Hi Maria. Thanks for chiming in.

  13. Natasha Says:

    Hi Susan. Good luck with that spirit moving you!

  14. Natasha Says:

    Carly, ugh, paperwork! You're right, I think that's worse than cleaning :)

  15. Natasha Says:

    Hey Nicole! I hate cleaning too. That's why when I started getting into it, I knew it was procrastination at work.

  16. Natasha Says:

    Hey Helen! Thanks for stopping by!

  17. I so hear you on procrastinating. I think what got me this time was disappointment in myself for not finalling in the GH. Guess I got my hopes up and then they were dashed one more time. Instead of working harder, I actually have been cleaning out file draws and shredding papers until I have almost burned out the motor (again). My favorite way to procrastinate is to pop a Gerry Butler movie into the DVD and surround myself with all of his sexiness. It usually works...

    I also send the invite to come and work on my kitchen as well. The Bunco ladies are coming in a couple of weeks and I would never turn down the help. :)

  18. Natasha Says:

    Hey Paisley! I think a Gerry Butler movie counts as hero research at the very least :)

    And sorry, guys, there's no way I'm cleaning anyone else's house. I don't need to procrastinate THAT much LOL

  19. bookdragon3 Says:

    I have what I call Penelope Projects. If you've read Homer's Odyssey,you'll understand what I mean. I have an afghan that's been started and ripped any number of times in its 20 year history, including being essentially finished 3 times. I'm currently putting off looking for the cream yarn I bought for the border years ago as I ran out of the other yarn with about 6 inches of border left this time. *sigh*

  20. Beth Says:

    Well, my most recent procrastination was about going through all my email today so that I am just now getting around to reading this post and commenting.
    I procrastinate whenever I can, but never on the important things. Put off doing the laundry til several loads build up to be done at once. Procrastinate on other housework til it takes an hour to do something that if done every day would only take a fraction of that(or so I'm told by my mother when she's around).
    But see, my form of procrastination helps me out as well. The way I do things, I only have three or four projects to tackle in a day. If I tried to keep everything up to par everyday, I'd have a list of 15 or more chores in a day. By keeping the number of different chores a day down to a lower number they don't seem as overwhelming.

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