Monday, October 5, 2009

8 Deadly Demons of a Writer #5...PROCRASTINATION

Today's battle is huge. I said in an earlier post that FEAR was one of the biggest demons a writer has to face. Well, this one is the biggest. Everyone has been side tracked, derailed, and nearly buried alive by this demon at one time or another. What is it?

It's PROCRASTINATION! Just look at the word. It's big and crasti. Don't let the prefix trick you; there's nothing professional about this beast. Although it takes an expert to know how to defeat it. So if there are any experts out there please help the rest of us :)

What makes this demon the biggest? Procrastination teams up with the other demons and bogs you down with excuses, distractions, and hesitations that interfere with reaching your goals. It tricks you into thinking it's ok to wander around aimlessly and not finish what you started. If you let it fester it will keep piling up around you until it becomes another creativity sucking demon... OVERWHELMING. We will battle that demon soon, but for now let's back up. We have to deal with Procrastination before it gets too big.

First thing we need to do is identify the enemy.

Procrastination - to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost. *(as defined by - to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done. *(as defined by

Now we have to recognize when this demon is attacking us. Basically, whenever we loose our focus on projects we need to do we are procrastinating. We all know that we're doing it, but aren't sure how to stop it. Even as I write this I find myself clicking over to Twitter and checking my emails; things I don't need to do right now. So, how do we kick procrastination in the pants? Half the battle is won just by admitting that you are avoiding or putting off important things. The other half is knowing why we do it.

The reasons we procrastinate vary so widely. For some, it is just a fun break from a stressful project or job we're working on. For others, it's more complicated and confusing. This is because (like I said above) Procrastination can team up with other demons and make you loose sight of your goals temporarily or permanently.

I could go on and on about this, but I would rather use my time to figure out how to stop puttering around and get back to writing. I did find this great article on procrastination and the underlying reasons we do it (fear, self doubt, overwhelmed). It also offers many suggestions on how to stop procrastinating.

Getting back on track could be a long battle with many demons involved, or it can be easy as writing a list and learning to be flexible with yourself.

Write a list of your priorities and keep it near your work space. Here's mine:

  • Family responsibilities/spending time

  • Finish WIP (Work In Progress)

  • Post regularly on blog

  • Clean house/laundry

  • Volunteer commitments

  • Prepare for November writing challenge (NaNoWriMo)

  • Finish preps for Wine Mystery (Nov)

  • Prep for Boston Book Festival

  • Work on marketing/promotion of The Truth Lies in the Dark

These are not in any specific order. The first 2 are the most important and are a daily goal. The rest vary in importance depending on the day. I would love to get everything done, but as you know that's just not possible. Tomorrow there will be 5 other things added to this list and some are ongoing commitments with no finish point. So I have to learn to be flexible with myself and my list. Some days the dishes, laundry, and even the family will have to wait for me to finish a chapter in my writing (As a mom, this was a hard thing to give myself permission to do). Other days, I have to unplug the computer, disconnect the Internet and just be Mom and wife.

I think the most important thing to do is be aware when you start to drift and ask yourself why you are loosing focus and looking for distractions. Is it simple because you're hungry or tired, or is because you're scared or overwhelmed? If you find it is one of your other demons getting in the way, revisit and conquer it again. If you missed any previous posts here are the links.

Intro to 8 Deadly Demons

Fear Post

Guilt Post

Self Doubt Post

This has been the hardest post to write in my Deadly Demons series so far. Maybe because it's Monday and I am dragging from a long weekend or maybe it's because Procrastination comes in so many forms and we do it for so many reasons it's hard to fight. It doesn't help that the Internet is an ocean of great distractions; Twitter, blogs, online writing groups, and many other forms of endless information and entertainment. Making it all too easy to procrastinate...even when I am writing about procrastination. That's pretty bad. On days like today, I may have to settle for baby steps toward my goals. A small step in the right direction is better than standing still.

Today's mini goal for writing is to edit 1 chapter in my WIP and start researching agents and publishers.

How do you deal with procrastination? What are your favorite things to do when you are procrastinating?

~ Kristin : )


  1. I've got to confess, sometimes that procrastination works in my favor. Something I thought I knew how to write comes out much better for mulling round longer in the mind.

  2. That's a good point Sheila. I have actually found many opportunities and ideas while chatting on Twitter or poking around different Internet sites. There is a healthy amount of procrastination and a point when it gets in the way of what needs to get done.