Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Attack of the Procrastinatelings

Writers are the best procrastinators on the planet. We are creative people, so we can come up with some great excuses for it, but it usually comes down to fear and laziness. We fear failure, (what if I'm really just a hack?) and we fear success (what if I never have another good idea again?). Add to the fear a general state of malaise and you get a sweet breeding ground to grow procrastinatelings--all those fun, creative excuses we use to avoid writing.

Procrastinatelings come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They even talk. There are the procrastinateling peoples--friends, family, knitting clubs, critique groups, etc. Then there are the necessities--sleep is the biggest drain, cleaning house always seems so important when you sit down to write, and eating comes in a close third in this category. Moneys are procrastinatelings that always seem to disappear right when you need them so you have to go out of your fictional worlds and get a job to breed more. My favorite procrastinatelings are the entertainments, including, but not limited too, gchat, facebook, movies, television, walks in the park, reading books, knitting and, of course, blogging. The most painful, but also most effective, procrastinatelings are the obligations--usually caused by peoples or moneys, they demand your time and they want it all right now. Actually, all procrastinatelings eat time. It's their favorite food.

There are many procrastinatelingocides in the world (duct tape is a key tool in some of them), but I procrastinated too long to mention any in this blog post. I'm tired (necessities), Mom wants to chat (peoples), I need to look for another job (moneys), I am at the climax of a book I'm reading and I really want to get back to it (entertainments), and I should be writing my short story instead of blogging (obligations)*.

What procrastinatelings are eating your writing time these days? Have you developed an immunity to any of them? If so, please share your recipe.

*Note: Two procrastinatelings can act against each other. Usually this has the effect of canceling each other out and nothing get's accomplished.


NL Berger said...

LOL! I love this post. Procrastinatelings abound in my world. I don't have any way to get rid of them yet either; if you find one, let me know!

I noticed you mentioned critique groups. I completely understand where you're coming from, but it makes me wonder: do you think it means we've lost our purpose when we actually start inhibiting each others' writing? Aren't we supposed to be here to help?

Also, do you suppose my husband would object to being referred to as a procrastinateling?

Darlene C. Goodman said...

I think Lee is definitely a procrastinateling and we must call him that from now on.

As to the critique group possibly inhibiting writing, I'm not so sure. We do waste a lot of time together (writers who share procrastinatelings can be very dangerous), however, I also know that there are some things we would never be brave enough to write without the encouragement or the group. I know this is true for me. I also think we are all better writers because of critique. We may need to work on finding some recipes for procrastinatelingocides to use during critique meetings.

Sarah said...

I have a long, long list of procrastinatelings, including computer and console video games (Sims and FF!), emailing peoples, working (that counts, right?), and watching old hokey TV shows. ^_^

Setting the timer on some of the procrastinatelings helps to feed them while getting you back on task. It doesn't ALWAYS work, but it's a start. Some weeks I do better than others. I also am usually able to stave off the procrastinatelings if I promise to give them time after I write. You have to use a multi-pronged approach with these things. Some are more malicious than others, and the techniques to demolish them have to be different. And then there are the days when you feel like giving all of the time to the procrastinatelings. Yummy, yummy.

One of the best procrastinatelingocides is, still, writing. ^_^ I find that switching off the internet (entertainments AND peoples) gives me a chance to focus and drill into the pages. The timer is my friend, and while it doesn't work when I say "Pssshh - I don't need no stinkin' timer!", on the days when I do use it I find I get loads more done. (And yes, that voice that says "pssshh" is a procrastinateling talking!)

haricot vert said...

My procrastinateling's name is Stress. It haunts me for most of my waking hours and sometimes even when I am sleeping.

I have no remedy at this time, but am trying to enter into negotiations even so.