Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday Review—You Know You're a Writer When You Procrastinate by...

by Lynn Huggins Blackburn

One of the best things about NaNoWriMo is that it demands you cease all forms of procrastination and get ‘er done. But since I’m not participating this year, I’ve been thinking about how writers have our own special ways of procrastinating.

So here you go.

You Know You’re a Writer When You Procrastinate by…

  • Making a playlist to write to. I’m dying to do this. I’ve heard that some of my favorite authors have playlists they listen to depending on the type of scene they’re writing. Chase scene—maybe something from the Bourne trilogy? Romance—gotta be the Pride and Prejudice score. Big climax—I’d go with something from The Lord of the Rings or Avatar. Sadly, while this may help get the creative juices flowing, it’s not the same thing as actual writing.
  • Researching name origins for your secondary characters. I know you read that Writer’s Digest article a few months back about how important it is for each of your character names to have some sort of meaning. But when you’re trying to find a name for the waiter who gets all of two paragraphs out of 85K… sorry, that’s not writing.
Laundry isn't an excuse not to write!
  • Housework/Laundry/Paying Bills. Necessary evils. Not writing.
  • Making a playlist for your WIP. Finding the perfect song to go with your hero or heroine’s mood in each chapter. Fun stuff. But, again, not really writing.
  • Reading blogs about writing. Do I need to say it? Not writing.
  • Pinning characters, locations, clothes, etc. to your WIP board on Pinterest. Delightful. Still…not writing.
  • Updating all your social media accounts. Status updates about writing? Not writing. Neither are tweets that include #amwriting, #amediting, #writing, or #allIdoiswrite.
  • Reading books in or out of your genre. Call it market analysis. Call it research. Call it professional development. Can’t call it writing.
  • Organizing your writing space. I find clutter distracting so it’s worth it to me to take five minutes to tidy up whatever is in my line of sight before I sit down. But when that leads to dusting under the piano? Yeah, not writing.
Blogging is good, when it doesn't take you
away from your writing focus!
  • Blogging. This one is tricky, because it is writing. However, if you haven’t made a dent in your word count for the week, then we have to call it what it is. Stalling. Not writing.

I may or may not be guilty of all ten of these. How about you? What’s your favorite form of writerly procrastination?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!

Lynn Huggins Blackburn has been telling herself stories since she was five and finally started writing them down. She blogs about faith, family, and her writing journey on her blog Out of the Boat. Lynn is a member of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and the Word Weavers, Greenville. She lives in South Carolina where she hangs out with three lively children, one fabulous man, and a cast of imaginary characters who find their way onto the pages of her still unpublished novels. She drinks a lot of coffee.


  1. Ha Ha Ha! That's so funny, Lynn! I was just posting a message to the BRMCWC Yahoo! group, and in the back of my mind I found myself thinking I need a NaNo playlist to write to. But, that's not writing! Neither is doing laundry, reading the blogs about writing...or cooking dinner (my least favorite thing to do each day - I wonder if my family would notice if I skipped that this month? JK!). Sorry to hear you won't be joining me this year. Enjoy your month! I will be trying not to procrastinate each day. :)

  2. A NaNo Playlist! That's awesome!! (But don't do it - you don't have time!) :-) I'll be cheering for all my NaNo friends from the sidelines - and from a cruise ship mid-month, which is the main reason I decided not to jump in. Good luck!

  3. Yesterday I needed to finish plotting out my storyline. Instead, I found myself cleaning my shower grout. Yep. I sure did.

    1. I had great intentions today. Then found gum in my dryer...after I'd dried my first load of laundry. The universe is conspiring against me!

  4. Sorry! Can't comment...I'd be procrastinating!

  5. Yes I shouldn't be commenting either but your blog post is SO TRUE. Every one of those things are what we do - when we are NOT writing.
    I blog at 4 blogs... that's a lot of writing. I am starting to promote my children's book - that is not writing. But when I write in my journal, and blog it is exercising my brain and preparing it for future work. Right?

    1. Jan, absolutely it is! READING blogs can be a procrastination technique and writing posts 6 months in advance are pretty suspicious. Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

  6. Ouch, Lynn! You nailed me on every one! I think I need to print this out and keep it in my work space. But that wouldn't be writing either! :) I'll tweet it and get back to the WIP!

    1. Julia, she definitely stepped on my toes with this one! Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

  7. Um...yep...very guilty! Thanks for making me smile anyway!!

    Love and hugs to you both!

  8. To do everything for the right reason but fail to write...procrastination is such a long word and so easy to accomplish.

  9. Have you ever waited to write until you had all your pencils sharpened? Me,
    Laundry, me, menu planning, me, reading, me. And all the other things, too.
    Guess you could say I'm doing everything but writing, but there are some posts like this one that are so good...

  10. Bravo, Lynn! Procrastination came up quite a bit during our recent writer's getaway. Now that you've exposed a few of my most common excuses I have nowhere to go but up...the stairs to my writing cove. (Thanks, Edie!)

  11. Oh, see, I thought I was a "writer-in-training." (That was my excuse!)

    Reading blogs about writing,writing on my own blog, and updating soical networks are my three biggies. I told myself I needed to do all that in order to improve my writing. That is true, but I still need to consistently work on my writing (articles, books). Thanks for the reminder!