Writers procrastinate. It’s like a natural law. But a rightful fear of procrastinating can lead to a whole new set of problems.
I’ve admitted here (and elsewhere) that I haven’t been writing lately, and one of my crit partners just gave me a smack upside the head for procrastinating over my WIP. There’ve been times in the past when she would have—has—been correct, but not this time.
Just as I know when I’m putting writing off, I do know now when I’m not. But it’s a tough call. Just as writers seem to always be waiting for that person to say their story sucks, I think we are also very quick to accuse ourselves of wasting time or making mistakes. I guess it follows.
But I know as a writer I need time to think. To speculate. To consider all the ‘what ifs’ and ruminate on character motivations, possible plot lines, structure, ramifications and permutations. Funnily enough, before I became so focused on writing as a career I spent a lot more time thinking and fantasising and making stuff up. Dreaming.
At the recent RWA conference in Melbourne, Marion Lennox stressed the importance of giving yourself time to dream, to daydream, to keep the stories and the writing flowing.
For me this daydreaming has always been the time when I settle somewhere and let my mind just sort of hum along. The system’s powered up but I haven’t given it anything to work on, and I’m waiting for the ideas and thoughts to come. And when they come, I let them.
I miss that. I haven’t carved out the time and place to do it lately, and it wasn’t until Ms Lennox mentioned it that I even realised it. A big thank you to her.
Not only has my writing suffered for lack of this dreaming time, but I have too.
So no, I’m not procrastinating, I’m thinking. I’ve a few little changes in mind to the outline of my story, and I’m ruminating right now.
But if I’m still thinking about it in two weeks, feel free to give me that smack.