Procrastination ... like posting a topic in a writing forum

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pink
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Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:44 pm Post

egads, the full moon doth shine!
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werebear
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Sat Nov 24, 2007 12:59 am Post

pink:
Maybe I should tell myself that it is perfectionism... and then I'll be more in awe of myself!


Brilliant! I'm always looking for ways to be an awe of myself... as opposed to, "Awww, buck up!"
WereBear

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AndreasE
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Sat Nov 24, 2007 7:44 am Post

druid wrote:2. Set a daily minimum goal for wordage,


At least to me, a daily word quota is no help. For a long time I thought it would be, I strived to wrap my writing around daily word counts (or page counts), but finally I arrived at the conclusion that this only creates the tendency to fluff up my writing, to write pagelong about things where a paragraph would be more than enough, to produce a lot of text that has to be cut later anyway.

What works for me, is to set a goal for the day. It's not enough to have this faraway goal ("first draft finished next year in june"), I have to define a demanding, but manageable milestone for the given day ("scene 45 finished" or "detailled outline of chapters 4-7" or "line editing until page 200" or whatever).

These daily goals should be planned at least roughly in advance. I usually print out the current month from iCal and spend half an hour to set the milestones - "chapter 12 until 7th, chapter 13 until 15th" or whatever suits the overall timeline I have for the novel. Simple, but it works.

TC
TCole
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Sat Nov 24, 2007 2:50 pm Post

AndreasE wrote:At least to me, a daily word quota is no help. For a long time I thought it would be, I strived to wrap my writing around daily word counts (or page counts), but finally I arrived at the conclusion that this only creates the tendency to fluff up my writing, to write pagelong about things where a paragraph would be more than enough, to produce a lot of text that has to be cut later anyway.


In past projects, before the beast got me, I used the daily word count goal religiously. It got me through two novels. But there's truth in what you say about the temptation to fluff and embellish in order to reach the goal. Still, at least in the early going, it can be good for the confidence to bulk up the word count. At a certain point it's not as necessary and the momentum of the story takes over, at least it did for me.

AndreasE wrote:
What works for me, is to set a goal for the day. It's not enough to have this faraway goal ("first draft finished next year in june"), I have to define a demanding, but manageable milestone for the given day ("scene 45 finished" or "detailled outline of chapters 4-7" or "line editing until page 200" or whatever).

These daily goals should be planned at least roughly in advance. I usually print out the current month from iCal and spend half an hour to set the milestones - "chapter 12 until 7th, chapter 13 until 15th" or whatever suits the overall timeline I have for the novel. Simple, but it works.


Thanks for the suggestion. It makes a lot of sense, particularly if you have a detailed outline to work from. I don't usually work with so detailed a breakdown of scenes, but I think I might be able to incorporate some of that approach.

I do think one of the keys to beating procrastination is to build up confidence through the accomplishment of goals, so that you look forward to the day of writing, knowing you've established an ability to get somewhere. Hard goals like "finish scene X" might work just as well as "write 500 words." I'll try it.

Cheers
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AndreasE
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Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:30 am Post

TCole wrote:particularly if you have a detailed outline to work from.


I have to admit that my outline is not that detailed. I use to have a rough idea about what has to happen in the novel as a whole, just enough to know whether I am still in the first half or already in the second; I have a rough outline of the next 4-5 chapters and a more detailed plan for the scenes in the current chapter and the next. A kind of horizon that's always a bit ahead of me on my way, but I don't see the path as a whole.

Nevertheless, it's more or less always enough outline to plan for a month ahead. So, it works.

Were I more the organic type of writer, I would indeed set word goals. And I would plan to write twice as much words as I want to have in the final novel. I have written some short stories in an organic way - that is, you begin to write and surprise yourself where it's going to end up - and found that this way, you have to cut the half of what you write. (Other writers who work "organic" tell similar numbers.)

And, of course, as an organic writer I would schedule more time for the revision. (On the other hand, the planning stage can be largely omitted. So, the "overhead" is just elsewhere.)

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Hugh
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Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:49 am Post

antony wrote:Yeah, procrastination is a killer, and 99.9999% of all writers struggle with it. You're not alone, not by a long chalk.

Pink is right, the boring truth is that the only way to beat it is by discipline, and a regular routine helps no end.

Werebear is also right that perfectionism is the enemy of progress. Switch off your internal editor and just write.

Finally, you're right that GTD is designed much more for executives and their ilk, but that doesn't mean you can't get some mileage out of it as a writer. I recently wrote a piece about my modified version of GTD after a similar topic on these very boards.


I recommend Antony's piece. I read it several months ago. A good read, with sensible advice which is adoptable and adaptable , whether your writing is longer- or shorter-form than his.

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John Dodds
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Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:28 pm Post

Here's a great handbook for writers whose very title takes on board procrastination and everything else we do to prevent us being successful..

Success and how to avoid it by Matt Coward

http://host2.clickandbuild.com/cnb/shop/ttapress?productID=9&search=success&op=catalogue-product_info-null

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Wock
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Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:56 pm Post

The roots of Procrastination lie in fear.

Overcome the fear and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Succumb to your fear and you can bathe in the glory of failure.



"I would rather regret something I have done than regret never doing it."
The wheel is turning but the hamster is still dead.

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vic-k
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Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:17 pm Post

Aaaaamen!!
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

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Gary Kessler
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Wed Nov 28, 2007 6:58 am Post

TC after you finish your sandwich, check out this great book on the subject:

The War Of Art: Break Through the Blocks and win our inner creative battle by Steven Pressfield.

He's an accomplished novelist and screenwriter (the legend of Bagger Vance)

It's all about battling your inner demons and breaking through writer's block and procrastination.

Excellent and a quick read.....unless you procrastinate getting to the next chapter.
Euphoria

TC
TCole
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Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:26 pm Post

Thanks, Gary. I'd heard about that book and meant to read it. Thanks for the reminder and the recommendation. I won't put it off any longer.
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Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:17 am Post

Word goals have never worked for me--expect in editing :) Mostly, my goal is simply to carve out a specific amount of time every day--morning or night--and put my fingers to the keyboard. Many days I go over the time if work is going well; I never go under the time. I've found that if the writing isn't coming easily and I can't break through that day, then there is always improvements to plot, pacing or characterization waiting or tracking down that one bit of research that's eluded me so far. Many times it's not pretty and my language (or at least thoughts if the kids are in the house :shock:) is ugly, but the session usually ends up being productive. As long as I put my backside in the chair. Which, we all know, sure is tougher than it sounds.

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thebigpicture
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Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:10 pm Post

Yeah I have all the symptoms of such an affliction!
-I dream up glorious outcomes to my scriptwriting...namely getting it made and seeing a great film before my very eyes...only to put the cart before the horse, get freaked out that it wont happen, and go drink a beer instead!

-I tend to think of the whole screen writing idea ( a full 90-120 pages!!! - which will seem like nothing to you novelists I guess...) as being too daunting a task!

-My concepts and filmic ideas are sooooo profound, original, and important! Thus I falsely poof myself up so as to make the potential for success or failure that much bigger!!!! and scary!

-I imagine the scene of sitting in front of a computer typing on little square pads with the points of each little finger, and watching litlle bits and bites form ever so slowly on the pixalated screen, as being such a tedious and boring task...and it kinda is aint it...?

-I say...my day has been tiring and frustrating at work, I couldnt possibly do more work that could potentially be tiring and frustrating....could I?

and on and on the symptoms continue...

all of your ideas are great and all clearly understand the Procrastination affliction!

hmmm it seems the word Pro-crast-i-nation, implies the active role in something...so is procrastination then the active role we play, and focus we put on not doing a particular thing?

well at least for me not procrastinating today was coming here to this website, signing up and posting something...at least it keeps me contemplating the craft of putting ideas into form...

thanks all for being you!

Cheers
Ja-son
"The most revolutionary act one can commit in society is that of being happy!" - Patch Adams

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driftwood
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Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:39 pm Post

There are limitless reasons to procrastinate, and endless ways as well :)

Sometimes I procrastinate because I'm at a part that is going to need a good sit down and some careful thought and reflection and probably 2 cups of green tea at least and I just think i don't have the time to tackle it properly and it's no use spending just a few minutes on it.....but....the odd thing is if i ever do sit down and just settle for a few minutes I do get on with it no matter how long I might have. Even if I only spend 20 minutes something will become clearer in the structure or the premise or the flow of words.
Last edited by driftwood on Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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pink
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Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:33 pm Post

perhaps the meaning of the word is really more related to a vulgar whore who eats baked beans directly from the can?

pro cras tin ate
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