the official website of
Bob Nailor




Procrastination

I can't start writing until I have the plot completely worked out in my mind.
The research is drowning me my brain hurts, I need a break.
I wanted to write but my neighbor keeps bothering me.
Until I have the correct, perfect name for my lead, I can't begin to put word to paper.
I currently have a 5K word outline for a 3K story and don't know what to do.

All of the above statements are methods of procrastination. Some are more innovative than others.

Some may call this writer's block. Bull-hockey! It is just a way to not write or begin to write. Writer's block, true writer's block is the inability to write. What that means is simple. The writer is writing and suddenly is lost or unsure what to do. In truth, for me, writer's block is basically the story telling me that I've strayed and I need to rethink the plot or where I'm going. Yes, it is time to take a break. THAT's writer's block! What we're discussing now is procrastination. That is finding something to take the blame for not writing.

Yes, your neighbor bothering you is an inability to write but get a backbone. Tell your neighbor to leave OR grab your laptop and head out to the local library or coffee shoppe. If you can't avoid your neighbor at home, don't be at home. Don't have a laptop? Go Retro! Use a spiral notepad and write with a PENCIL so you can erase! Bottom line - Get away!

The perfect name? They have a wonderful "app" in almost every word processor it's called "find and replace" which allows you, the writer, to change things quickly. When I write and don't know the name or want to be able to change the name, I use my initials (rsn) with some aspect of what I want. What do I mean? I need a village name but can't think of one so I use "rsnvillage" (without the quotations) to at least continue the thought flow to paper. I've used such things as "rsnopponent," "rsnbadguy," and even "rsnstraydog." Yes, one of my edits is to look for "rsn" in my writing to make sure I've caught all the temporary name tags in my story. Trust me, it is easier to type "rsnbadguy" than to sit staring at the monitor for 30 minutes trying to think up something better than "Louie."

Research can be a killer. At times I've discovered that I become a research addict. I'll start my hunt, suddenly find some obscure aspect and then follow that detail rather than the one I originally was searching. Still, research should not deter you from your goal of writing. For my first novel I began research and printed everything I think I found. I had pages no, reams of paper that bulged a four-inch 3-ring binder. Talk about overkill. Research should be relevant. Don't be side-tracked.

For some, outlining the novel is a necessity. That is fine but don't become a slave to the outline and I mean that in several aspects. 1) Detailing everything to the extent that with the addition of just a few words, it becomes the story. 2) Over-extending your outline beyond the scope of the story. 3) You spend so much time on the outline, you have no energy or inspiration for the story.

Inspiration. Yes, from the last sentence above. Another form of procrastination. If you claim you can't write because there is no inspiration at the time. Again, bull-hockey! Inspiration is all around. Take the time to look about you or stare out a window. Of course, if you're in a room with four bare walls or it is possibly covered with padding, you may want to re-examine your situation.

As I always say:

Writers are crazy
But tell you what, Sunshine
Until they strap you down
And lock you up
Keep writing!

Procrastination is just an easy way to allow the person to ignore the urge to write. It can be anything, even the simplest of — Oh! Look! A butterfly...




  Click to add a comment - say something!


~ COMMENTS ~

Jenny
2014-09-29
Found your blog while procrastinating this morning. You really hit the nail on the head. Re lack of inspiration, one of my favourite quotes is:

'When there is no wind - row!'

Thank you for the kick up the backside - I'm going back to my manuscript now. :O)
~ Reply to this comment ~

Greg
2014-09-29
You nailed it Bob. Shut up and write!
~ Reply to this comment ~

Elyse Salpeter
2014-09-29
My procrastination is sometimes based on sheer mental exhaustion. I'm tired and my muse just wants to play Candy Crush. I've proofread her book about 20 times straight and the brain just begs me to do something mindless, even though I know I must get this done...
~ Reply to this comment ~

Onisha Ellis
2014-09-29
This applies to more than writing!! Trust me. I know, I am a practing procrastinator.
~ Reply to this comment ~

Elise Stokes
2014-09-29
True, though I beg to differ about distraction. It ain't easy writing with four very loud and social kids about! Ironically, promoting my work is my greatest writing thief and my preferred procrastination tool. When my household is too loud, or I'm having trouble transferring what's in my head into written words, I pop on to Twitter to see what's new.
~ Reply to this comment ~

Lisa Jey Davis
2014-09-30
OMG - you've got my NUMBER!!! I am supposed to be writing an article RIGHT NOW! LOL!!!! It is so hard if you're not 100% "in"!!!
~ Reply to this comment ~

James Prescott
2014-10-01
Powerful, in your face stuff Bob - confronts the topic head on for what it is. Great stuff.
~ Reply to this comment ~