Tag Archives: procrastination

Writing Life: The Secret Project

Last week I wrote about going through SPLAT, but before I could face my own personal splat, I had a few questions for it. Like why were my procrastination and resistance so hard core around the rewriting of Book Three?

The answer came to me Sunday morning. Expectations. My own high expectations and the expectations of my publisher, my friends, my family, and my fans. Writing the next book in a series isn’t easier, at least not to me, and for some reason I thought it would be. It’s much harder. There’s an absence of freedom around it due not only to all the expectations, but also the pressure deadlines.

by Gizem Vural

I compared my lack of enthusiasm while writing Book Three to the complete joy I experienced working on my new book Intergalactic. No one, not even myself, had any expectation around Intergalactic. It was a complete experiment. A NaNo even. There were no deadlines but my own, no eyes waiting to tear into it, or tear it apart, it was a secret from the entire world.

I’m not a fan of working on more than one novel at a time, especially in this case. I know Intergalactic could easily steal my attention away from my Book Three rewrite. But I decided to try a little experiment. What if I worked on another kind of writing as a warm-up each day? A creative essay? A poem? A song? A short story? Write for the sheer joy and pleasure of writing, with no strings attached, to get me into my writing mode.

And you know what? It worked! Over the past three days I’ve dabbled in a “secret” creative project, worked on some songs, and drafted a creative essay and was so elated to be doing so that when I turned to my Book Three rewrite, I was in a much happier space.

From that space I knew I could tell this story. I was still creative. I did not forget how to write overnight.

Perhaps you, too, are procrastinating to the page because of your own expectations. Maybe you’re afraid of imperfection, maybe you have a lack of confidence. Whatever the reason, perhaps this little experiment will work for you as well. When you’re up against splat, try warming up by writing creatively in another form just for pleasure, to remember why you write in the first place.

The trick is not to use the “secret project” as an excuse not to work on your novel or to procrastinate even more. What I do is set my timer for 20-40 minutes to warm up with this new idea. If it’s a poem, I might be able to crank out a first draft. If it’s a song, I can jot notes, sing and record the melody on my computer. If it’s a short story or essay, I can make an outline or jump on in with a cannonball splash.

With no expectations, it’s been a great way to start each writing day.

How do you get yourself to the page when you’re up against your own SPLAT?


Filed under Practical Procrastination, writing life

Practical Procrastination Techniques #3 – Research Random Things on the Internet

Because, hey, you never know when a clever turn of phrase, an insignificant fact, or a fleeting moment of genius could help you out of a tight situation. Like an awkward silence at an industry networking party, for instance!

As poet Bernadette Mayer says, if it’s not writing, it’s research.

~  ~  ~

A friend of mine’s facebook status stated that she might be Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobic. Since I absolutely have to know what every word I run across means, I dutifully looked it up (see Practical Procrastination Techniques #2). It means fear of the number 666 (fear that it is related to satan and the anti-christ).

Well, me being the cheeky monkey that I am (and not even stopping to consider that this may be a serious phobia of hers), I attempted to cure her ailment with a bit of Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobic humour. I found most of these online HERE (I didn’t make these up, I stole them with glee).

670 Approximated Number of the Beast

DCLXVI Roman Numeral of the Beast

333 Number of the Semi-Beast

66 Number of the Downsized Beast

0.666 Number of the Millibeast

-666 Opposite of the Beast

25.8069758… Square Root of the Beast

1010011010 Binary Number of the Beast

00666 Zip Code of the Beast

http://www.666.com Website of the Beast

1-666-666-6666 Phone or FAX Number of the Beast

(1-888-666-6666 Toll Free Number of the Beast)

1-900-666-6666 Live Beasts, available now! One-on-one pacts! Only $6.66 per minute! [Must be over 18!]

666-66-6666 Social Security Number of the Beast

Form 10666 Special IRS Tax Form for the Beast

66.6% Tax Rate of the Beast

6.66% 6-Year CD Interest Rate at First Beast Bank of Hell ($666 minimum deposit, $666 early withdrawal fee)

$665.95 Retail Price of the Beast

$769.95 Price of the Beast with accessories and replacement soul

$656.66 Wal-Mart Price of the Beast (next week $646.66!)

$55.50 Monthly Payments for Beast, in 12 easy installments

666o F Oven Temperature for Cooking “Roast Beast”

666 mg Recommended Minimum Daily Requirement of Beast

Word 6.66 Word Processor of the Beast

#666666 Font Color of the Beast (the gray in this table!)

IAM 666 License Plate Number of the Beast

66.6 MHz FM Radio Station of the Beast

666 KHz AM Radio Station of the Beast

okay, now, back to work!


Filed under funny poop, Practical Procrastination, random poop

Getting There – Procrastinationville

My evil genius procrastination has whispered me to tarry ’til a more convenient season.
~Mary Todd Lincoln

So does Carolyn See really write 1,000 words a day, five days a week? Or does Stephen King really write 10 pages every single day? I’m not sure. I know they are prolific writers, but I tend to believe that there are breaks. What I call “transitions” and what poet Bernadette Mayer calls “research.” (once when we were taking a tour of a brewery in Plzen, she told me that anything that is not writing is research)

Perhaps while in the middle of a story, an edit, a brainstorm, a treatment they are going full speed. But I bet they probably have those challenging times when getting there is as difficult as it is for the rest of us.

Approaching the work has always been the most challenging point for me. It’s when I have to really force myself to stay disciplined. That discipline usually doesn’t happen right away, though. I’m most challenged when I’m approaching something new. I resist a second time when I have to edit the work. It’s less challenging with each passing edit. And even when I’m in the thick of a story, there’s still a little bit of resistance every day.

What is that? Where does that come from?

I’ve heard that perfectionism is a form of procrastination. And perhaps I fear putting something on the page because it won’t be as perfect as it is in my head. So I have to remind myself over and over again that Creation is Messy and that I need to just lay it all out there to see what I’ve got.

The challenge I’m having right now is getting into the editing of the 1st draft of The Ruins of Noe, which is the second book in my White Forest series. I wrote it over a year ago and haven’t looked at it since. I’ve been working on other projects, but now that Brigitta is being released, the time has come to face it!

I think I’m afraid to read the draft because it might suck. Lol. Perhaps it was simply a fluke that I wrote the first novel. Anyone could have that happy accident, right? I mean, how can I possibly think I could do it again. And make it better, or at least just as good.

Don’t worry, I’m going to get to the edit. I’m just acknowledging all that’s going on in my head. I can only resist for so long before I get twitchy. The odd thing is that I know, I KNOW, that as soon as I get back into it I’ll get lost inside the story, care deeply about what happens to the characters, and be taken away on a magical journey.

It’s just the getting there.


Filed under novel adventures, writing life