The Art of Procrastination


Back in October, when I did my first Creative Writing course ever, I was full of good intentions. I had told myself that I was going to get down to writing something seriously, even if only a short story.

I even signed up for the next level of my course to give me some sort of deadline. Surely I could write a first draft between then and February, right? Wrong.

My next course started last Saturday and I haven’t completed a single story. I am the queen of procrastination. Now, that is not to say that I haven’t written anything at all but I have mastered the art of starting a million stories, had a million ideas but after a couple pages, they all fizzle out because I have no idea where my story is going or what my characters are doing…I am not very good at planning/outlining, I always felt I was more of a “seatofpantser” type but the truth is that approach doesn’t work. If you don’t know why your characters are there, no amount of back story searching will help you write. My biggest tool of procrastination: research. I spent hours thinking about the whom, what they were like as a kid, where they live, yadda yadda yadda and not enough time thinking of what it is that I want them to do. What’s the event that is going to make people want to read about them? I have absolutely no clue.

I have started reading yet another writing self help book, called Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. It had good reviews and was recommended on another blog.  And here’s another way I can procrastinate…reading about writing instead of actually writing. I have only just started it so I can’t really comment on its usefulness yet. It does stress the importance of understanding 6 core competencies before you can even start to write…more ammunitions for my procrastination? Don’t mind if I do!

Yet, at my class we had to commit to writing targets and was made to commit to having a first draft for a short story ready by the end of the course (in 6 weeks) and that I would write at least 1500 words per week…so how does that work with developing the skills first? Not sure. When I say I was made, they obviously didn’t put a gun to my head (we don’t really have guns in the UK – unless you are a Russian gangster that is) but as I had explained that my issue was to have too many projects started and abandoned, they recommended that I picked just the one and stuck to it…either said than done, my learned friends! It’s been 4 days (5?) since my class and I have already changed my mind 3 times about the project to pick and I have written about 100 words only…I seem to find it hard to write in the evening, I can’t wake up any earlier and my class is on Saturday mornings (which is normally my favourite time to sit down and write)…I am doomed…Oh and I also have to do a character sketch, pick a couple books to read in the genre I want to write and start spying on people’s conversations in coffee shops to integrate in my writing…Oh I am really, really doomed! Ah well, I have brought this one on to myself to be fair and I do tend to work better when I have deadlines imposed by others and they are short.

Soldier on, woman!