Procrastination is not a crime. Sure, it has been the enemy of many writers and bloggers over the years, but if you can harness it, you can use it as a force for good. The key is to use those periods of laziness and procrastination to do something useful rather than just pacing around the room eating chocolate bars.
Graham Linehan, a great writer who created the sitcoms Father Ted and The IT Crowd, spoke about procrastination in more positive terms when interviewed by The Guardian in 2008. He said:
“[Procrastination]… is a very important part of the process. Even something like playing a computer game is valuable. The subconscious goes to sleep and when it wakes up it panics. The point of procrastination is to get the subconscious thinking.”
That is some great advice right there. Too many experts suggest simply writing away regardless of the quality, because at least you are “getting something done”. But are you really? How much of that writing is going to be kept after you read it back when you’ve rediscovered your mojo? Not very much. Sometimes it’s better to walk away and not feel ashamed about watching a Chuck Norris film or listening to the radio instead of forcing yourself to be creative.
Writers Block? Nah…
As far as this writer is concerned, writers block is a myth. The term was created by people who force themselves to write when they should be doing anything else but writing. Those great ideas don’t come to you when you’re sitting at the laptop with gritted teeth, they come to you when you’re walking the dog or doing the shopping. They are awoken by a song that you hear or a scene from a film. Something that makes you feel.
You can sit at a writing desk in silence if you like, but you are more likely to find inspiration on your travels or during a bout of painless procrastination. Walking is a great way of getting the creative juices flowing again. You could overhear a conversation or play a piece of music on your iPod that stokes up those creative fires again. It also helps that you’ll avoid putting on a few pounds from the sedentary writer lifestyle.
Reading instead of Writing = Positive Procrastination
Reading is one of the best ways to positively procrastinate, because you can learn and stimulate your mind whilst ignoring the blinking cursor that mocks you as you think about writing. Of course, there has to be a point when the reading stops and the writing continues, but instead of torturing yourself about not writing, why not indulge in some good old fashioned reading.
It doesn’t have to be helpful advice on writing either. You can often learn more from reading something you DISLIKE than something that inspires you and is likely to sit next to your own work. It’s amazing how much inspiration you can take from something that is the exact opposite of what you consider to be good writing. It might awaken that competitive spirit, the “I can write better than that” attitude that gets you up in the morning and keeps you writing. You’ll be writing again in no time.
Social Media is Not Your Enemy… Yet
Facebook, Twitter and the various other social networks are notoriously addictive and can often stop momentum dead in its tracks if writers aren’t careful. However, on those procrastinating days, social media can be incredibly helpful. Whether you want to interact with fellow writers, read articles or laugh at pictures of cats wearing hats, social media has something for every type of procrastinator.
You might learn something amidst all of the worthless tosh and celebrity bashing/worshipping and it could spark something into life. Just remember to stay away from social media when you get your mojo back, because it’s a progress killer, as you’ll already no doubt know.
Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/ladylore/4304870894/”>blissfully ethereal</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
License: Creative Commons
Daley is a freelance writer and blogger who wants to help his fellow writers to get out there fully confident and armed with great writing. He can be found struggling with his own career at www.daleyjfrancis.com