On writing and procrastination…

As all writers worth their salt surely know, distraction lurks around every corner.

That novel is simply begging to be finished, but everything seems to slow down its completion. It’s not just the demands of daily life, either. Many writers – myself included, I’m afraid – tend to favor the part of the writing process they like best and to push off the more tedious aspects.

For me, it’s the creative burst of the first draft. I love getting my ideas down on the page, and this generally comes easily to me. The characters take shape in my head, I hear their dialogue, and – even if I’m writing it and should have a clue – I’m eager to find out what will happen to them. So I type and I type and I get it all down.

I hate to see lots of typos or grammar errors, so I do tend to reread and edit so that the prose is smoother. I may add in a scene or two and cut others.

After that, popular wisdom says to lock it away in a drawer for a while, so that it will be fresh to your eyes when you return to it for major revisions. In the meantime, authors are often told to get to work on something else.

And this is where I’m always led astray…

I know I should return to the major revisions, but, well, I’m so far along on the writing of my next project. And it’s so exciting to be getting my new story down on paper, and I’m so in love with my new characters, and I just want to see where things are going, and …

Meanwhile, the pages I should be working on are languishing in their proverbial drawer. During this period, I do get great feedback from my critique groups and make changes, but the major overhauls are easier to put off to the next day, or the next.

After all, writing my new work is fun. All the revision is not. Cue in my good buddy procrastination. One day, maybe I’ll even succeed in locking him in that proverbial drawer…


  1. mjgriffor on April 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I know exactly how you feel. i suffer from the same problem. i wish i had some sage advice to give you to help deal with it but i don’t.

    • kimberlysullivan on April 5, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      I’m patient! If you do figure out the magic spell to revise quickly and painlessly, just let me know…

  2. Chantel Rhondeau on April 7, 2012 at 2:52 am

    I’ve found multitasking isn’t a skill I’m accomplished at. Between learning how to Twitter, blog, and then critiquing other’s work, plus the occasional edits on my WIP, I haven’t been able to put down many words on the new novel. I think you’re right, Kimberly, every writer has their favorite point of procrastination. I always think, “Well, tomorrow I will write more…” D

    on’t they say tomorrow never comes? Hmmm…

  3. Melinda Dozier on April 9, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    I love this entry because I can relate! The dreaded editing stage is no fun and the creation stage is the best. I already have my next novel from start to finish all in my head (and some musings on paper) but I will not let it discourage me from finishing up Time Changes Everything. Once I gave myself that deadline, it actually has gone faster than I imagined. Good luck with editing, once you get to it and I look forward to your new story.

  4. […] already written on procrastination , about the need to finish a major project and immediately start working on another, so that you can […]

Leave a Comment