Procrastination

Emilie Ogez

It was sixth grade, and my turn in the ever popular Would You Rather game. My palms were sweaty, my heart racing. The cooties on the boys’ locker room floor would likely end with me in the hospital, fighting for my life. But if I did go with Snape* I’d never hear the end of  it.

Little did I know that the Would You Rather game would become a constant in adult life.  From the ever popular college version:

“Would you rather study for that midterm or go to a party?”

To the more recent parent-friendly version:

“Would you rather eat your green beans or go straight to bed?”(Yeah. I’m one of those moms.)

More recently I’ve been playing the dangerous Would You Rather game with my writing. It’s not that I don’t want to write. It’s that sometimes when my writing has reached the stage of really hard work (aka revising), I find interesting ways to put it off.

For instance, this past weekend I had a few spare hours I could have devoted to revising. Instead, I decided my spice cabinet needed reorganizing and it if wasn’t addressed right away, I’d never be able to cook again, leading to my family’s eventual starvation.

Surely, I thought, I can’t be alone in this! So I reached out to some writer friends to see what other people do when they want to avoid work.

Kate Hart (YAHighway):

~deep clean the kitchen
~start (and finish) a quilt
~take on a ridiculous blog project or redesign

Kirsten Hubbard (Like Mandarin, Wanderlove, YAHighway)

~wash, brush & trim my furry dog like a topiary hedge
~decide dinner needs to be something incredibly elaborate, purely by coincidence
~pinterest, etsy, metafilter

Michelle Schusterman (I Heart Band, KLN)

Probably my most ridiculous go-to procrastination method is suddenly deciding to cook or bake something experimental. Last year, in the middle of rewriting a book for the second time, I looked up from my laptop and my eyes fell on a bottle of beer. An hour later, I was covered in flour and chocolate, but I had a giant tray of these incredible Irish stout double chocolate chip cookies. Totally worth it. (Plus I got to drink what was left of the beer.)

John Rea-Hedrick (KLN)

For me, it’s my blog. I’m all about the presentation, so I spend WAY too time tweaking my blog when I could be writing.  I like to try out new widgets and plug-ins for a more nuanced look and feel.  Don’t even ask me how long it took before I finally settled on a WordPress theme! 🙂  And when I visit a blog with something really visually interesting happening I dig into the HTML to found out how it was done.  Then I try to do the same thing on my own blog.  It’s a fun challenge, but sometimes I get a bit obsessed preoccupied until I’ve figured it.

Unfortunately, I too often turn to the blog when I’m feeling particularly blocked in my writing.  I tell myself I’ll just pop in to empty my spam, or maybe do a quick check on my stats, or perhaps tweak a widget, or grammar check previous post.  LIES!  Before long – POOF! – my writing time is lost and my blog suddenly doesn’t look quite as shiny as it had before

Jeanie Wogaman (Illustrator, KLN)

When you have hundreds of illustrator friends, you end up with scads of interesting and/or beautiful pictures in your news feed every time you log on.  And, of course, you must “like” every one.  Yes, Facebook is my procrastination destination and the biggest threat to my productivity.  I refuse to join Pinterest (eye candy mecca) because I know I’d never get back to work.

What are YOUR favorite ways to procrastinate? How do you try to stay on track when you’re working?

*name changed to protect identity. Because if I really had gone to school with Severus he obviously would’ve been my boyfriend.

Amanda Hannah

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