Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ten Extraordinary New Ways for Writers to Procrastinate

1. Take all the 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper you were going to recycle (for instance, old copies of manuscripts) and cut them into 5 1/2 x 4 1/2 rectangles. Put one stack by your computer, one stack in the kitchen by the phone, and one stack in reserve on a shelf somewhere. Use these pieces of paper to write notes to yourself, grocery lists, or ideas for your next novel.

2. Find all of the photos you've saved in various places on your computer, CDs, or flash drives, and save them to one place. Sort and file them by categories so you can find them when you need a photo for a blog post.

3. Make homemade ice cream in an old-fashioned ice cream freezer, the kind that uses crushed ice and rock salt, the kind you have to crank by hand and takes a really long time. To make this project take even longer, use fresh fruit in your mix. Chopped and mashed strawberries work very well.

4. Take all of your clothes out of the closet, dresser drawers, and winter/summer storage boxes. Everything you have not worn in more two years must go in the donation bag. Everything. No exceptions. Take the bag(s) to a donation center before you change your mind.

5. Go to the library and do some research. If you don't have anything to look up, pick one of these subjects and run with it: zombies in Denver, zombies in Pittsburgh, or zombies in Washington, D.C.

6. Go to Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents Blog and read all the posts under his "7 Things I've Learned So Far" category. Read my post first.

7. Google "villas in France" or "villas in Italy" and check out your options. Don't look at the prices, just look at the pictures.

8. Catch up on your shredding. Feed the papers into the shredder one at a time so you can look at each one and make sure you haven't tossed something important into the "To Be Shredded" box.

9. Check out Smashwords and read their "How to Publish" page. Then go to the Smashwords blog and read at least the last ten posts. Really. It's important to know this stuff.

10. Back up all your blog posts from day one by copying and pasting to a Word document and saving them to your hard drive or a flash drive. Copy each post as you go and put it in a notebook(s) in date published order. If you want, you can print a second copy so you can file by categories. Then catalog your posts on a spreadsheet. If you don't have a blog, use 10a instead (the a is for alternate).

10a. Start a blog. Sign up for Dani Greer's FREE one-month online blog book tour class which starts July 5th. No need for any other procrastination efforts for a whole month. You won't have time. Do it. You know you want to.


welcome to my world of poetry said...

Thanks for a most enilightening blog Patricia.
I learnt much from what you wrote, Thanks for sharing,


Karen Walker said...

Well, now, I don't think I'd title this procrastination. I would title it Superb Organizational skills. And I've done all of them, except number one, which is a fabulous idea that I am going to to right now....LOL

Kay said...

Procrastination? Sounds like work to me.

How about going to Italy and stay at a villa for research on your next novel?

Carol Kilgore said...

LOL - I don't even know where all the photos are on my computer. And flash drives. To say nothing of all the ones I need to delete on my camera and phone. This alone could eat up a full month. BTW, I have an award for you Under the Tiki Hut.

Ann Best said...

You always write the most extraordinary posts. This one is getting copied and used. BTW, I am working on our "project." Yesterday was an off-day, one of those days when I didn't have time to either read or write. I'm going to stop specifying a certain date. I'm always saying I can do something faster than I can. But it will be done this week.

Alan Orloff said...

Thanks for these. I'm always looking for advanced techniques to add to my repertoire. (Here's one for you: looking up foreign words to use in place of "boring" English words. No need to merci me for that!)

Mason Canyon said...

Love your post as always.

Thoughts in Progress

Patricia Stoltey said...

Yvonne -- What I hope you learned is that writers have very creative ways of putting off the actual writing of their books. Revising, too.

Karen, if you've already done most of the things on my list, you are truly a Writer (note the capital W).

Kay, I'd bet I could find plenty of new procrastination tips in Italy. I'd have to assign writing time like we do at a writing retreat, then assign someone to make sure I don't escape.

Carol, the photo thing is out of control at my house. I have to take action...soon. And you have an award for me? Cool. I'll be right over.

Ann, never fear. We all have that issue with time. There's no need to rush, and no pressure (don't you wish everyone would say that?).

Hey, Alan, I love your suggestion. We could make it even more time-consuming by saying, "Start studying a new language. Pick one that's really difficult."

Mason, I just want to know if you've done any of the things on this list yet.

arlee bird said...

I only wish I could get this organized. I did #1 at my office when I was still working. I now have enough scratch note paper to pass on to my grandkids-- writing notes will probably be obsolete by then.

Tossing It Out

Joanne said...

Great ideas here. I read elsewhere that it is really important to copy those blog posts as an insurance against anything happening to Blogger. It's a job, but worth it.

I clicked over from Carol Kilgore's, enjoyed browsing here.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Arlee, it's depressing to think someone might come along and throw all our little scratch papers away. All that work...

Hi Joanne, welcome to my world. I have another interesting guest blogger tomorrow. Jean Henry Mead will be telling us about her path to publication, so I hope you'll stop by.

Talli Roland said...

I hesitated before reading this post because Lord knows, I know enough ways to procrastinate! There are some new tricks here I'll be sure to try!

Ann Best said...

Yes, I do wish everyone would say no pressure. But you did, and I appreciate that! I'm super tired today, but I don't have anything domestic to do tomorrow or Friday. So here's hoping . . .

. . . and hoping you get that third novel finished soon for publication. I'm excited for the paperback of #2 to come out in September.

Watery Tart said...

Great list, Pat! Most of these even SEEM useful, so you can pretend you don't know you're procrastinating!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Talli and Hart -- Where there's a will, there's a way.

Ann -- No Sylvia and Willie mystery #3 in the works yet. I'm working on a standalone suspense novel first.

By the way, I just found a great post on Write to Done: 201 Ways to Arouse Your Creativity:

Padraic Murray said...

Amusing and insightful - as always Patricia.
Men also have a few handy excuses - like watching wimbledon, the world cup, golf, anything that moves.
We can also overcome a lifetime's allergy to shopping, collecting the kids from school, visiting the mother in law - but all these pale into insignificance compared to yours!

Terry Odell said...

Some of those ideas count as writing. Just because you're not making progress on the WIP doesn't mean you're not doing something to further your career. I just did the Smashwords thing and have 2 stories uploaded there now.

Bob Sanchez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Sanchez said...

Excellent suggestions, Patricia. May I add another one? Take a 30-day trip (I'm just finishing one) and call it research.

My only criticism is on #1. Cutting an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet into 5-1/2 x 4-1/2 rectangles is going to leave you with an equal number of 5-1/2 x 3-1/2 rectangles, and then what? Will you use the smaller pieces for shorter notes? I suggest you cut down the middle at 4-1/4 for maximum recycling effectiveness, and then tape everything to your wall in a logical order.

Clarissa Draper said...

These are so funny. I love to procrastinate then I hate myself for doing so. But, if I'm going to do it, I think these are great ways.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Don't you love it when you make a dumb mistake in a blog post and you get caught? I could, of course, edit the post to fix my error and then delete Bob's comment, but that would be so wimpy. So I'm leaving it up as a reminder that I need to proofread, proofread, proofread. :)

Glynis said...

11: Copy and paste this post. File it.
12: Add to the file all the useful lists, you have already filed away from other blogs.
13: Organise file into titled sections
14: Leave alone until you need to procrastinate another day. *grin*

Loved your list.