Welcome Bonnie Burton to WWdN! They’re sharing this special guest post with us while Wil Wheaton is at sea. Find more of her work at CNET and GRRL. They’re the genuine (wait for it) best.
Pssst…. you… yeah you! Come closer. I have a super-secret secret to tell you about writers. Not only are we really good at taking a tiny idea like a time-traveling barista or a dog who can solve murders into a novel or a screenplay, we’re even better at taking a very long time getting those precious ideas onto paper.
One of the things we hate to do most is sit in front of a computer as it mocks us with a blinking cursor on a blank screen. Long before social media came to our rescue by distracting us from deadlines for hours, we would sit and have a staring fight with our screen saver. I’ve aced every game that came with my computer. You’re looking at the Queen of Solitaire.
Procrastination is the worst kind of frenemy. It makes you believe that you’re a super writer with mutant typing abilities. You can binge watch all of “The Walking Dead” and “Murder She Wrote” and still make your deadline. Sure, ya can.
That’s the problem. You want to believe that you’re are the master of your own destiny as the next Dorothy Parker or F. Scott Fitzgerald. But what you really are is an expert in zombie combat and ‘80s murder mystery TV shows.
But why do we give into the sweet seduction of doing anything but writing? Could it be our constant fears that the Fraud Police will show up at our front doors demanding that we finally admit we’re hacks and turn over our laptops?
Is the risk of failing worse than not trying at all? I know that it can be easier to believe you don’t suck as a writer, if you don’t write. But that’s not an option for me. If I don’t write regularly I get antsy. I start talking to myself in the grocery store. I begin to think I can telepathically communicate with my dog. So for all our sakes, I write.
Maybe we’re just worried about non-stop rejection from editors, publishers, producers and other writers. Or perhaps we’re still traumatized by those YouTube comments (the ones you’re never suppose to read) left on our last video post. Personally, it’s all the above.
I’ve published books and comics. I’ve written endless articles and columns. But when a deadline looms instead of tackling the project head-on, I often wait until the last possible moment — usually 3am — to write that commentary about sex robots or to finish up that half-written novel about a ghost who only haunts donut shops.
Eventually, I sit down, write my tome and then go to bed angry that I didn’t spend endless hours writing draft after draft, honing my skills like a real artist. But here’s the big secret. ALL writers procrastinate. It’s what we do; it’s part of the process. And even super-successful novelists can’t keep up with their own deadlines.
Just look at George R.R. Martin who just missed a deadline for his latest book. Sure that comedy skit on “Conan” last week wasn’t actually Martin himself shopping for a new bed or robbing banks instead of writing but honestly, I wouldn’t doubt it for a minute. It’s one thing to take forever to write another installment to a beloved book series, but it’s quite another when your fans never let you forget that your next book better kick ass.
In fact, I bet some of you are reading this guest blog instead of getting stuff done. So instead of feeling guilty for googling exes, reading obscure Wikipedia entries or checking your Twitter every 5 minutes, cut yourself some slack. Us writers find ideas from the weirdest places and sometimes from procrastination itself.
Knowing every single episode of “Magnum P.I.” by heart will really pay off for me when I finally write Tom Selleck’s unauthorized biography. Maybe giggling at all those Tumblr cat memes will motivate me to write the next cat comic to rival Garfield and Bill the Cat.
So procrastinate with pride. Just remember to eventually write about it.
10 thoughts on “I put the (ADD WORD LATER) in Procrastination!”
We’re all just pixels in the wind, sister, and no one is keeping score.
I took today off from work because I didn’t feel like doing any of it. Also, did you know Chester A. Arthur is related to one of the hanged Salem witches? True fact, proven on ancestry.com.
Did you mean to put “and turning it” after the word “murders” in your first paragraph?
Best. Blog title. Ever.
Sometimes I think I should become a writer because of how much I like to procrastinate.
I almost put off reading this. Almost.
Love, love, love this!!! Now I’d better get back to procra… I mean, work!
It’s not procrastination, it’s research. At last, someone who appreciates that.
I used to actually dislike the fact that there were so many great stories out there because I thought all the good ideas had been taken. But of course they’re just inspiration.
It was completely my honor to be a guest blogger for Wil! Hope you all liked my blog entry on procrastination! 😉
1. I occasionally write, but not enough to be considered a writer, I actually started a fiction journal and the 2 weeks I did that i actually felt better emotionally then i got distracted. My issue isn’t that i have to lie to myself that i’m great. My issue is more of what if Im horrible? why would I torture word and people that way? that’s just mean. I don’t have a drive to be great just adequate in my life, greatness leads to false friends.
2.If I was a ghost I would not haunt donut shops, because as a ghost you can not eat the donuts and that would be torture. So i would haunt someones netflix account who has good taste in movies and tv shows, because as a ghost you can still watch movies.
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