Monday, December 26, 2005


"Never do today what you can
Put off till tomorrow."
William Brighty Rands (Matthew Browne) 1823- 1882 "Lilliput Levee"

PROCRASTINATE: To put off intentionally and habitually
To put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.

Before beginning this tried and proven list of procrastinations you'd better set yourself a time limit or suddenly the day will have slipped away. My general rule (providing I'm up by at least 9 a.m.) is to begin writing by 11 a.m. and try to carry on til at least 3 or 4. It doesn't always work, but if you have allowed yourself time to 'play' a little before getting down to the task, once the Muse starts speaking you might find yourself on a non-stop writing jag.

1. If you know you have writing to do, take your time getting out of bed in the morning. Make
yourself some coffee. Eventually get dressed. (Well, at least by noon!)

2. Check your e-mail while you drink your coffee. In fact, check your email at least a dozen
times a day. While you're at it, check your blog site, maybe read a few of your friend's blogs.
Perhaps even write (or plan) a new one. If you also keep a journal (on-line or written), spend
some time writing in that too.

3. Stop checking the internet and play a few games of Free Cell and Solitaire. (To be fair,
I limit myself to five games each and quit once I've won.)

4. If you don't have a computer, play a few games of Solitaire with real playing cards.
(I limit myself to ten games, or it will go on all day.)

5. In between, make a few phone calls.

6. Check your email again. If you have no new mail, write a couple to friends.

7. Play with your pet (my bird loves this attention).

8. Google yourself. You'll be amazed!

9. Wash dishes, tidy up the mess you've left from the night before.

10. Make another cup of tea/coffee and prepare something to eat.

11. Read the newspaper. Do the newspaper cross-word puzzle(s). If you're using a cross- word book, you might have to limit how many you do) This is an excellent exercise for
writers. You learn lots of neat new words!

12. Maybe you need to take the garbage out or go for a little walk or do some stretching
exercises just to get the blood flowing to the brain before you start your day's writing.

13. How about taking the dog for a walk, or change the cat box, or clean the bird's cage?

14. Tidy up the piles of papers and books in your work space. How can you think with
all that clutter? While you're at it, you might notice things need dusting.

15. Make your week's/day's grocery list. This will make you hungry so take time out for a

Okay. Enough already! Now it's time to get down to work!

That, folks, is how I've perfected the art of procrastinating. And that's why my novel still isn't finished!

Okay, I'm exaggerating. However I do allow myself a bit of time to play around before I sit down to do serious writing or editing. It's a routine that seems to work for me though some days I really have to 'force' myself to get those first few lines written. Then, once I do I find myself propelled into it soon I'm in that 'other world' oblivious to anything that's around me. (Unless of course the bird is making a nest in my hair or climbing up and down my arm as I type.)

"Procrastination is the thief of time."
Edward Young 1683-1765 "The Statesman's Creed" st 1 - 393

"It is only a moment here and a moment there that the greatest writer has."
Robert Frost 1874-1963 "Comment"


Sam said...

I love procrastinating. It makes the deadlines LOOM, lol.
Actually I am pretty good about getting things done.
Which reminds me. The laundry is calling me. Bye!!

Wynn Bexton said...

Yes, Sam, me too. I always do well under pressure though I suppose I'd do better if I allowed myself time. I was never one to do loads of studying in school (there were far more interesting things to do!)
I admire people like Scott Oden who applied himself and got his novel done on deadline. And there are some others, like you, who do the same.

I just keep plodding along, but what I'm writing is a bit difficult and studious so I often have to stop for more research.
(Oh "Research" -- should'a put that on the 'procrastination' list!)

Gabriele Campbell said...

Roflol, did you somehow visit me?

WestEnd Writer said...

Hey Wynn

Research is definitely a big one - the phrase covers a multitude of sins... And while you're at the library anyway - hey look! A new Grisham! Well, you need a break from all that heavy reading (and thinking).

Why is it that deadlines always make me notice how much I need to vacuum and dust. And why do deadlines make television so interesting?

Wynn Bexton said...

Ah yes, 'research'...well I have a rule now when I go to do research: I make a list of what I need to know for that particular time and try hard not to digress off into other subjects or get distracted by what's around me. (Libraries are such interesting places!)

I also have two other blogs that I write in sometimes (a distraction from my more 'serious' writing tasks)
"Conversations with Myself" is just general chit-chat
and the other is my travel blog
which I'm started to add to again with my Malaysian trip looming:

If you're looking for another reason to procrastinate, take a look!

Scott Oden said...

Thanks, Wynn, but I have to admit I'm the world's worst procrastinator. My motto truly is 'why do today what you can put off till tomorrow' ;) I like to think it's because my subconcious knows I work best under stress, but it's probably just basic laziness.

*hangs head in shame*

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