Monday, August 31, 2009

A little Procrastination if you please.

In the light of my growing need to expound on the things going through my head, I’ve decided to continue this Tion-fest. This week we’re—rather I’m—focusing on another dreaded Tion. This time we’re—I’m—turning my blind eye on Procrastination. The last of the trilogy of nasty Tions.

Authors are masters of devising little ways to get out of writing. Don’t ask me why. We just do it—a lot! I think it harkens back to our creative natures. Hating to be tied down to a normal nine to five existence, we like to branch out and see our world from different angles before committing our thoughts to paper. Yeah, you caught me there. I smelled the BS myself. But part of that is true.

To understand procrastination, you need to understand the creative process. Before we do that let me set the record straight. Authors do not think like normal humans. We see reality and some of us strive to write it as accurate as we can. That said, it’s impossible to do that. You can’t do it. Our personal views will forever change the landscape of reality to suit us. That it is simply human nature. For writers, our worlds live in our minds. It is as real to us as the one we’re all forced to live in day after day. You, the reader, come visit our worlds for that very reason. We make our worlds so real you want to stay in them. Or at least we hope we do. How well we accomplish that is ultimately up to you to decide.

That out of the way let me sum up the creative process for you now in as few words as I can. Author sees world. Doesn’t like it. Creates his/her own. Then fills it with people and as much extras as we can. There, that is the best I can do without writing a self-help book. Who do I look like to you? Stephen King. Okay that may be a blog for later, but let’s get back on track.


Procrastination is a defense mechanism. It allows our minds to wander and explore exactly what we’re trying to do. It can take many forms and I’d say half actually is creative process related. Since my editor may be reading this let me start with the—snort—most important one.

Research. Sometimes an author needs to find stuff out. Hey, this isn’t a technical manual. I can say stuff if I want to. Anyway, it’s true. We all base our writings in things we know but we don’t know everything. I do but that’s beside the point. We’d get bored writing about our hometowns and the idiot neighbors or coworkers who populate our lives. So we get out there and Wiki ourselves into a frenzy or go visit the places we want to write about. If we’re writers of Historical novels we immerse ourselves in whatever ever period we’re jumping into. Or, you could be like me and research talking monkeys. Yes there is a way to research talking monkeys. It’s called a Planet of the Apes marathon.

Reading. This one falls into the Distraction arena too but hey being an author means you have had to read at least one book once in your life. If you’re an author it probably means you’re reading a book while you’re reading this blog. Being an author isn’t just the joy of creating. Sometimes reading is just as much a part of the business as writing. Not to disillusion anyone, but they are things like market trends to consider. Okay, that sounded good to me. I just hope everyone else bought my feeble attempt to legitimize my book addiction. Nothing to see here. Let’s move on to the next topic.

Writer’s Block. See how all these Tions tie together? Writer’s block leads to Distraction, Frustration, and ultimately Procrastination as you try to figure out what in the hell is going wrong. I’m going to leave this one here, but again it could lead to a self-help book and nobody wants that from me.

Family. I don’t see this as a Distraction or Frustration. To me this is the only true excuse for Procrastination. As much as I love writing, I love my family more. If being tied to a computer means I miss those little moments I can never back, I’d rather not write a single word. All the accolades and fans in the world will never replace your child’s first steps, their graduation or a dinner with the person you love most in the world. Writing is many things but it’s not the sum total of existence. I write because my family fills me with love and the inspiration I need to create. Besides, a book won’t put you in a nursing home, if you ignore them.

This one has run a little longer than I’d planned but I’m almost to the end. So let me get this over with. Procrastination is a part of the creative process, as important as inspiration and the rest. It allows you to connect with the world and gives you the ability to step back and examine where you’re going with a book with a fresh eye and keeps you out of a 60 Minute type aged care facility. There is more to the story but Stephen King is calling to find out exactly what I meant in that paragraph up there and I’d just as soon be gone if he decides to send Pennywise to strong arm the answer out of me.

Until next week when we hit a whole new Tion, happy reading and avoid clowns with balloons.



Chiron said...

Hah! I love your writing. *grin*

How do you KNOW a book won't put you in a nursing home? Hmmmm???

Thanks for a great read!

Procrastinatingly Yours,

The Write Soul:

Morgan O'Reilly said...

You'll kindly notice that I procrastinated about commenting on this... *grin*

Your in Distraction

Chiron said...

Speaking of procrastination...

I'm just now getting around to posting my picks for the Kreativ Blogger award.

Tag, you're it!!

Details at my blog.

--Chiron O'Keefe
The Write Soul: