Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Procrastinating or Percolating?

It's a fine line and I like to walk up and down it a lot. The line between procrastinating and percolating. See, I believe in BIC (Butt in Chair) and I also believe you need to write to be a writer. But I don't write every day. I think every day, despite the amount of laundry and heinie I clean. I get into my WIP's world and walk around. I'm at the stage right now where I can't approach it head on. I can't sit down and write, not yet. I need to think about it.

For example, yesterday I finally cleaned out the tech junk drawer. That hideous repository that all offices have of cables, broken cameras, headphones nobody likes to wear, and old technology. I unwound the tangle of cables and sorted them into piles. Busy hands means a whirring mind for me, so in that time I 'wrote' my opening scene. I discovered the MC's voice (yes, I heard it in my head, you got a problem with that?)

But I haven't run to the computer, not yet. It's a delicate thing with me. I need to 'think' back into that scene and replay it, like a video, in my head. Then I can write it.

If this was three years ago, I'd be berating myself for procrastinating. I'd have good reason to do it, I spent almost ten years 'thinking' about my first book without writing a word. But now that I'm embarking on writing my third book and am querying my second, I think I can trust my process. I know I can do it and I know I won't be afraid. For me, that's what procrastination was, fear of failure.

So, what's your process and how did you come to trust it?


  1. I completely understand! Often, I find myself caught between:

    "I need to write this scene."
    "But it's not clear in my head yet."
    "Oh, don't worry about that--just write it!"
    "But I'm not sure exactly WHAT to write, yet!"
    "That doesn't matter--just write. It'll all come together in the end."
    "WHAT will come together? I can't see the scene clearly. I don't hear the character's voices yet. I know the first draft will be trash, but I want it to be useful trash!"
    "Don't be such a perfectionist!"
    "Get off my back and leave me alone, bozo!"
    "OK, OK, I'm just trying to help!"

    My head can be an awkward place to live sometimes... :)

  2. sigh... I hate blogger. I wrote you a very nice long response and it got wiped out.
    I thought I'd subscribe to your blog as a part of the A to Z blogging challenge. However, the way you have this set up, I cannot even leave the URL for my blog in the box because you have it set up to not accept "name/URL". Many of us have our own websites and don't have their blogs on blogger or wordpress. that's my URL.
    Ok, now for process. I usually plan ahead; say, Saturday is going to be my painting day. I get up Saturday morning; turn on the computer, make my tea; check emails, facebook. Ok, I look around, desk is messy. Clean desk. Go make breakfast eat it.. Back to desk. Organize materials, finish cleaning desk. Some days, I am more thorough than others. Find reference photo on computer. (check emails again). When painting desk is finally organized to my satisfaction, I go get a brand new crisp white piece of paper (imported from France watercolor paper) and stick it to a board. Then I pull out my drawing pad and with pencil, I do some quick sketches of the composition I plan to paint. When I am happy with this, I sketch in light pencil on my new sheet of watercolor paper the entire plan. Then I organize my brushes (make sure they are supple and clean) and lightly spray water on my paints, and start to paint.

  3. @colin -lol! your head sounds like my head - filled with voices jostling for attention. And don't even get me started on my inner editor! Still, whatever works, right? :)

  4. @mimitabby - sorry you had trouble posting - that's happened to me too. Though I have to clarify, I haven't 'set' blogger up for anything. I'm running this blog by the seat of my pants and have surely clicked 'accept' to things I don't understand - I'll fish around to see if accepting 'name/url' is something I can fix. As to your process, you totally make me jealous. I used to paint, years ago. Then I went to grad school for art and it pretty much killed my desire for art ;( still, slowly, slowly, I'm starting to hanker for the tactile joy of drawing, painting. Your description is great - makes my hands itchy to pick up a brush!

  5. Your title says it all. I'd like to think I'm percolating right now while I'm blogging instead of procrastinating. Down time is necessary. I just wish I could go easier on myself when I'm taking a break instead of feeling like I "should" be writing.

  6. Hello! I'm new to your blog from the critique blogfest, and I'm happy to meet you!

    Fun blog. I love the colors. I would like to see a picture and short bio of you near the top.

  7. @emily - I try not to beat myself up about it when I'm not 'working' but the truth is that the sub conscious works in mysterious ways and sometimes an idea that comes out of 'nowhere' is really just a thought that's been burbling on the back burner for some time that's finally ready. I say we make 2012 the year of going easier on our selves - that means naps are 'thinking time' ;)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...