Friday 18 July 2014

The art of procrastination...

I think this post will be one that many of you will be able to empathise with. The art of procrastination. If there was a degree in it I am pretty certain I could get another PhD. I am really, really good at it and certainly at the moment I am. I have two books to write, one novel which is written and I am editing it and another academic book which I am in the process of researching and writing.

I am also supposed to be writing this blog. I haven't posted for over a month. Bad Vanessa! A blog is not much use unless you do it regularly and I used to be so good posting on a weekly basis but then a good friend started doing a daily blog. Another friend and I have discussed this at length because it has had a very strange impact on our own blogs. We have found it very difficult to write them and we have no idea why.Weird or what?

Anyway I have had a couple of ideas. I was going to write about the incredible YALC but then we did a #GEAQA on all things YA and there was a great #YAUKChat on Wednesday and someone did mention that they were slightly fed up of YA stuff so maybe time not to write about that. Plus I had written about it fairly recently. Then there was all the brouhaha about Kevin Brooks winning the Carnegie prize and doom laden books. I mentioned it briefly in a conference paper I did and was going to write a blog but at Golden Egg we have just invited someone to write a post on the same subject and I feel they will bring something new to it and I will only be bringing out the same old arguments that I bring out when I argue about having sex and drugs in YAF. As in, if its right for the story great, books are a good place for them to have the vicarious experience where they can ask questions of the text and themselves. Anyway enough said, see more procrastination, I am not writing those posts.

Instead I am writing about how I am not writing. I am checking on youtube for songs for my playlist to write to - always important. Checking for important little details which will make all the difference to my story that no one else will ever notice but I will. For example do daisies grow on mountainsides in April in Austria? How many different colour grey horses can you get? And that isn't even thinking about the academic book... Don't even mention the pictures I collect (some of you I know use Pinterest) I don't  but I have a file of photos which reflect the book I am writing and I like to look for and collect - more procrastination.

Then of course you do have to check Twitter and Facebook just to make sure you are not missing anything important that is happening in the world and to support any friends that are A) having a really good time or B) having a really tough time. Both of whom need you to be there for them.

Of course I sneak in a fair bit of reading, a great form of procrastination. All in the name of research. Wonderful and something you should all be doing lots of if you are a writer. No excuse.

The best form of procrastination is: I can only write properly if my room is tidy - yeah right! (stop laughing those who know me well) Consequently I have a skip being delivered today. Now that is a serious form of tidying and oh it so cathartic.

Off I go for a glass of water and tidy the washing away, pick up the grandson maybe, check the daughter is ok, talk to my sons and do general real life things before I come back to it and stare at the screen. Any words written? No...but is it wasted time? No it is not actually because despite not writing I have been thinking. Some may call it pre writing. I have been contemplating plot issues, characters, settings etc. Often my best ideas and solutions come while I am procrastinating so don't get angry with yourself for doing this. It is a fine art and cultivate it because you are doing it for a reason. It gives your brain space and time to find the answers you need for your writing.

Write [sic] off to to find some words while I put some detritus from my world into a bin bag.

Happy days crafting your art of procrastination and be a day dream believer