Ah, procrastination. A few weeks ago I was at a get-together and was chatting about writing with someone.
I said, “Writing looks a lot like farting about on the computer or doing the laundry.” Which is true, not because it isn’t part of the process, though. Sometimes what appears to be ‘procrastination’ is actually ‘preparation’ or ‘thinking’ or ‘editing’. Let me explain.
When ‘procrastination’ is actually ‘preparation’ to the casual observer it looks like this:
There’s a lady walking her cute little dog. It certainly is a nice day for it. How can such a young woman have time to walk her dog at two o’clock in the afternoon? Shouldn’t she be at school or work or something!?
However, in the mind of the writer ‘preparation’ works sort of like this:
So, if my protagonist discovers the body of the victim in the walk-in freezer, then what? Are the killers still around? Is the protagonist acquainted with the killers? Oh, the dog just pooped, I’d better pick that up. Why is that old guy across the street looking at me like that?
When ‘procrastination’ is ‘thinking’ someone might think this:
What the hell?! I thought she said she was writing this afternoon! Now she’s reading some cooking blog. She was playing Farmville ten minutes ago. Writing my ass! She could at least put those dirty dishes in the kitchen!
Of course, to the writer ‘thinking’ works like this:
I bet I could replace the oil with more pumpkin to make those muffins lighter. And, once the protagonist has discovered the body she’ll tell the restaurant’s manager. Of course, what she doesn’t know is that the manager works for the gang that put the victim in the freezer. So, how much danger is she in now? I think I’ll make those muffins for breakfast tomorrow, right after I get the dirty dishes out of here.
And, finally, when ‘procrastination’ is actually ‘editing’ the untrained observer may see it this way:
Now, where did she go? Oh, here’s a note – Gone to The Bean to write. Oh, sure! She’s probably hanging out with those other ‘writers’!
To the writer ‘editing’ happens this way:
Mmmm … nonfat hazelnut latte … just the thing for editing! I’ve got an hour before the gang shows up. Okay … she can’t tell the manager about the body right away – that guy will kill her! I think this book could be longer than three chapters if the protagonist can stay alive!
So, all that ‘procrastination’ is actually ‘writing’. Well, that’s what I keep telling myself anyway!