Where Romance and Suspense Collide

Procrastination Station

Procrastination. That evil word that forces us into defensive mode.

“I’m not procrastinating – My son had a doctor’s appointment; the dog needed to be groomed; the computer is running a virus scan; the carpet needed vacuuming.

Really? Vacuuming?

Let’s be honest with ourselves and others we are procrastinating, putting off the action we really should be doing, delaying the inevitable.

The real question is why are we doing it.

If you are reading this you are either 1) a reader wanting a little insight into the writer’s glamorous life. (Let me tell you now, glamour is rarely the case.) Or 2) You are a writer like myself. If the latter is the case, why are you reading this instead of writing. 🙂

We love writing. Writing isn’t a job it’s a calling, an addiction even. We love our characters. Well, except when they run around in our heads at night pretending to work out plot problems, but really just trying to keep us awake. They like us sleep deprived because then they can take strange turns in the story and mess up the painstakingly devised outline. Okay, I don’t outline, I sit down and write as it comes to me, but there is usually a planned outcome in my mind. And darned those characters trying to make me turn right when I expressly told them to turn left. Sorry, I got distracted.

Oops, or was that another procrastination device?

Back to the question at hand – why, if we love what we do, are we constantly sipping coffee at Procrastination Station instead of getting on the Writing Train?

When it comes to writing my books, the reasons vary. Most of them center around esteem, or lack thereof. Which is pretty ridiculous when you think about it. I’ve won contests, received positive feedback from critique partners, contest judges, and BETA readers. For the most part, I have overcome this issue.

My procrastination problem right now is what you’re reading. My blog, twitter, Facebook page, and any other social media outlet you can add. Why is this such a problem, you ask?

I have several answers (read as excuses). 1) It takes time away from my writing. I really like this answer. And, it’s true. The problem is I don’t seem to have a problem sitting down to watch a TV show, or read, or have coffee with friends. Okay, it’s an excuse, moving on. 2) I write fiction. This is another favorite of mine. It is the same answer I give to teachers (I work in a high school) when they come in and ask me to help them write recommendation letters. They say something like, “But you’re a writer. This would be a piece of cake for you. I’m going to worry over it and pull my hair out.” That is when I tell them, I totally understand, but I would do the same, because I write fiction. It’s much more fun than writing reality. But again, it’s an excuse in this case. I believe we are about to get to my REAL reason.

3) I don’t have anything worthwhile to say or people will think that’s stupid. Let me first make a comment to those of you using this ‘reason’ in regard to writing your fiction novels. Other writers might think your idea is silly. That doesn’t mean it’s so. They just might think that because a) they wish they had thought of it first and want you to drop it so they can write it; b) they don’t understand or have never considered that possibility; c) it isn’t they style/genre/type of writing they do; or d) no one has ever done it before. The last is the specific reason why you SHOULD do it. Now back to my problem, procrastinating about social networking.

I have had a website for years. I’ve completed, as previously mentioned, numerous manuscripts. I’ve even presented workshops in English classes about writing fiction, at the high school where I have my day job. So, why am I so . . . okay, I’ll admit it, afraid to write and participate in the social media arena? My answer? I honestly believed I had nothing valuable to add.

As I’ve been writing this ‘my first blog’ post, something occurred to me. I do have something valuable to say. I know a lot of writers. Some of them are NYT bestsellers, some are Amazon bestsellers, some are just jumping on the Indie train, and some are just finishing their first manuscripts. One thing I know about all of them, is at some time in their careers they have all taken a break at Procrastination Station. They have all gone up to the counter and ordered a second latte rather than go back to the office and face that demanding computer again. They have all suffered with doubt, yes, even the NYT bestsellers. But . . . eventually they toss the latte in the trash, walk out onto the Procrastination Station’s platform and board the What the Heck was I Thinking Train back to the wonderful world of words.

If you have ever taken a break at Procrastination Station, I invite you to share a bit of your story in a comment. Your story might touch something in another writer’s life and move them back on the track.

All aboard!

Sandra

12 Comments

  1. Kathy aka C. K. Crouch

    Have started to leave a comment here three times. Weird things happening in cyber space I think.
    Great blog and welcome. I blogged once lol. I’ve dragged away from facebook all the time. I am addicted to the games on there.
    I have a little procrastination in writing. That maybe because when I started writing I wrote at night late after work or when the store was closing and I closed it four nights a week, I wrote in a notebook at work. Then I joined a yahoo group that reuires you to write 100 words every day for 100 days. That was great but it took several tries before I made it. Then my husband ended up in the ER one afternoon and I had procrastinated on my writing. I had in fact just sat down at the computer to get started when he called me on the phone asking me to call 911. I didn’t get started or get anything on the writing after that. But the next day I did and that was day 1 of 365 days. Even with his death in Nov 2011 and the funeral Imanaged to keep going. It helped me I guess. But still I write late at night until today suddenly while washing dishes and discussing things with the characters I realized why I’d made no forward progress. Yes writing every day still but nothing was flowing sort of hit and miss just junk writing. Disjointed scenes and stuff. Suddenly it hit me. I had no reason for the hero and heroine to work together since I had changed the story slightly. Figured it out and sent the words to a friend to see what she thinks of the idea. It is rough but I think it will make the story work better. This could be a chapter or two in the book.

    • sandra@sandrakerns.com

      Kathy,

      Wow, that’s not procrastinating, that’s life. It does unfortunately get in the way at times. I’m sorry to hear about your loss. The closest I’ve come to that was a skirmish by husband had with cancer last year, but that all worked out to the positive. I understand how it helped you to keep writing as you dealt with the aftermath. Writing can help you get out of YOUR head and sometimes that’s all you need, a little break from the reality of life.
      Glad to hear things are moving more positively on your manuscript now. Here’s to chapters 2, 3, 4, 5,…..
      Thank you for sharing. Drop a line when you finish your book so we can throw you a cyber party.
      Sandra

  2. Kathy aka C. K. Crouch

    I am big on procrastination at everything some days. Why my yard often looks like a jungle lol. That was my husband’s love was taking care of the yard. For me I could rock it all in plant fake plants and grass and be done. Or if I could afford it hire someone to do it lol.
    I used to work retail in a convenience store aka gas station. My writing would be late at night after I got home. Often after midnight. I joined a yahoo group WritingGIAM_100x100. The base goal is to write 100 words per day for 100 days. It took me 3 or r tries to make it. I blogged about completing a year of writing. I love the group I have whined, cried and ranted to them. But I made it. But the habit of writing at the end of the day tends to hold on. I always thought if I didn’t work, didn’t have to take hubby to doctor etc I would spend the day writing. I’d get things done. Funny he died 30 Nov 2011. I’m still writing. But I have to say today Thursday is the first day I sat down and wrote before late afternoon or late evening. I was playing a game offline and suddenly ideas flowed. Well they started when I was washing the dishes and from there I sat down with the laptop and lost time playing games. I came up to send the writing to a friend to scan over and see if we can brainstorm how this part works. Now I’m playing online spades lol.

  3. Karalee Long

    Congratulations on your blog, Sandra. I’m not much of a procrastinator when it comes to writing, but I definitely have too many other things that need to be done. So it’s a struggle to juggle it all.

    • sandra@sandrakerns.com

      Karalee,
      Yes, I do know who you are 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and reading my premiere post. I totally understand the TOO many other things that need to be done. This summer (I only ”work” during the school year) I have devoted most of my time to writing and the other things are starting to grumble in the back ground. Hopefully, they won’t raise their voices too loud. Thanks again for stopping by.
      Sandra

  4. Misty Dietz

    Hi Sandra! Welcome to the blogosphere – another stop on the Procrastination journey! LOL. In all seriousness, my procrastination stems from the aforementioned social media glut. Because I blog, I visit a lot of other bloggers’ sites. And then of course there’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Triberr…the list is pretty much endless. I just purchased an app called “Write or Die” which emits an earsplitting sound if your keyboard goes silent for too long. So we’ll see if that helps. 🙂 Congrats on your baby blog and we’ll see you around the blogosphere!

    • sandra@sandrakerns.com

      Misty,
      Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I’ve heard the social media can be a time glut if I let it. Hopefully, I can keep it under control. I have too many upcoming deadlines to let that happen. I’ll have to check into that Write or Die app. There are times it would come in handy.
      Sandra

  5. Lisa Potocar

    I too dropped by to leave a comment in support of a Crested Butte Writer peer. NOTICE what time I’m writing this–it’s nearly 10:00 p.m. EST. I’ve had a long day of writing, and I needed a break from it. So, I’d hardly call my stop here procrastination–at least today anyway. With that said, though, until a few weeks ago, I had cast aside my writing (ever since the release of my debut novel back in January of this year) to research and experiement with social media for marketing and promotion. BUT I finally reached the point of combustion and warned myself to stop trying everything before I exploded. When the steam escaped and I was coherent again, I concluded to pick those things that were working best for me and work with them a little each day so that I could disembark from the train going here, there, and everywhere but writing. In all of my chugging along through this maze of social media, one message out of the mouths of successful authors, editors, agents, and even social media gurus kept up a shrill whistle: IT’S IMPORTANT FOR AN AUTHOR TO WRITE THAT SECOND BOOK! Well, I won’t ever let myself be de-railed for very long again. As Sandra maintains, my characters won’t let me anyway–they poke, prod, chastise, scold, and scream until I’ve let them loose to tell their story. Thanks, Sandra, for allowing me this detour at Procrastination Station. I had great fun, and you helped in reminding me to stay on track!

    • sandra@sandrakerns.com

      Lisa,
      Hmm, EST, it was still only 8pm here when you wrote your comment. Sorry I didn’t comment sooner, but I was actually working on edits. Yep, I wasn’t taking a break for a change. It helped that my husband had work to do as well, so TV together time didn’t come up last night. Your reminder of the best advice – write that 2nd book is true. The edits were on the 2nd book I’ll be putting out this fall. The first will be out Sept. 1st, the on the 15th the 2nd. Right now I don’t have time to procrastinate, but feel I need to take the time to reply to those kind enough to stop by and say hi. Keep on writing!
      Sandra

  6. Karen Docter

    I’ve been on the Procrastination Train so often in my years of writing that I have a lifetime supply of Frequent Rider Miles saved up. 🙂 Every writer I know has these moments and, although a few of my excuses are legitimate and seriously sidelined my writing without my control, the only ones that still sway me are my own insecurities about my writing ability.

    I tell myself I can write but, sometimes, I can’t help but wonder if I know what I’m doing. Especially when I don’t seem to find time to write around everything else. Thankfully, I have some great critique partners and writing friends — and now, readers! — who keep me motivated.

    Will I ever master my procrastination? Maybe not. I’m a Type-A personality and my procrastination techniques are deeply embedded in my psyche. 🙂 I keep trying though!

    Good luck with yours, Sandra…and great first blog! You DO have a lot to offer your readers!

    • sandra@sandrakerns.com

      Thanks, Karen. I think we all have those doubts about our abilities. It’s those of us that keep plugging despite them that eventually make it. Thanks for the comment.
      Sandra

  7. Theresa

    Hi Sandra,
    I very much enjoyed your post. When you chided me for using your blog as a
    procrastination tool myself . . . not true–THIS time . I took a break from
    writing and made time to read it to support a friend and to be entertained. You
    mentioned that you thought you might not have much of value to share with other
    writers, but I disagree. But before I explain that, I want to stop and commend you
    for your honesty. I think it’s very brave of you to admit that you THINK you don’t
    have anything of value to add, but you’re wrong.

    You have a TON of experience both in writing and the publishing business, but in my
    opinion, not all blogs have to be informative, there’s a lot to be said for
    entertaining or just chatting–discussing tons of writing/book issues. I find that
    interesting. Just as all stories don’t have to be deep and have lessons for them to
    have value.

    I totally get your point with procrastinating! All momentum on the story I’d half
    written and I’ve JUST rekindled, stopped for a year. I wrote other little stuff,
    but no stories or novellas. This was pretty unusual for me–I usually always have
    something in the works. I can find a bunch of excuses, but the primary reason I
    allowed procrastination to rule the day is because the writing just wasn’t fun
    anymore. I lost my joy in the writing and telling of the story.

    And I’m pretty anal person who needs to finish one thing before starting something
    else, so . . . I was at a standstill. And being Catholic, I was at a GUILTY
    standstill. There was something about the story that had me stuck and I couldn’t
    put my finger on it. I have now fingered the problem, I needed another character,
    and I have renewed fascination in my story and the characters and I’m back at work
    with a goal of finishing the rough draft by the first week in September.

    The points those of us who have been at this for a decade or more forget is that 1)
    You can make all the “right” moves and still not be rewarded with a publishing
    contract. 2) Reader SUBJECTIVITY most often defines the success of a writer or
    book–for example, I hear from many authors and writers that Fifty Shades of Gray is
    a poorly written subpar story–yet damn I’d love to have her royalties! So it’s
    often not eh best written stories that rule the day. 3) Life is SHORT and God gave
    us all many blessings. The vast majority of us will not get rich or famous from
    writing, so there has to be other rewards in it for us to pursue publication–the
    fun. It’s always been about the FUN for me. I’ve always said that when it stops
    being fun, I’d stop writing and use my creative gifts in other ways. Luckily the
    joy in writing came back to me. But if it’s not fun, why do it?

    I have to be as honest as you. The RARE instance I contemplated quitting writing .
    . . I just about panicked thinking of all the friends I’d loose by not attending
    conferences and being a part of the writer community. I’ve made so many wonderful
    friends and whenever I DO stop writing, I worry I’ll fall out of touch with them and
    that saddens me beyond belief and motivates me enough to finish this book and move
    onto the next!

    Good luck with your new blog and I’m always interested in chatting with you!
    T

    Theresa Rizzo
    http://www.theresarizzo.com

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