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

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vic-k
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Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:13 am Post

Pink!!
What are y`doin` :shock: These jokers are a just a bunch of pseudes who don`t really want to do any work, but like to kick around crap excuses for why they can`t(or wont), do any. But!! God love em!! they`re not really mature enough for your brand of hard core filth!! :shock:

Be gentle with em Pink :shock: Jeeezzz!
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KB
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Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:02 pm Post

With my moderator's cap on, I have split this topic into the Latte forum so that those who wish to discuss procrastination can continue to do so on-topic here. Myself, I've got loads to say about procrastination, but I'll tell you later. (Yes, yes, I know, you'll need a doctor to sew those sides up.)
Best,
Keith

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vic-k
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Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:43 pm Post

Pink`s gonna be awfully upset about this :shock:

Since I`m still here :wink: tell me what you see as the difference between procrastination and writers block?

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing what has to be done. Whereas writers`block, is a mental and physical inability to do what you `want` to do. At least, I think that`s the case. But what is the cause?

Procrastination is the result of a lack, of that,`wanting to do`, or otherwise you`d start to do it.

I think Wock`s got it right, when he talks about fear, in relationship to procrastination. A temporary loss of faith in your abilities to do the job, with it attendant risk and fear of failure. Unless, that is, you have no meaningful sense of commitment to the task in the first place. In which case Procrastinatia is the more desirable place to be, obviously.

Writers` Block, is a far more meatier problem to wrestle with. How say you all?

Vic
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kewms
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Mon Dec 17, 2007 9:13 pm Post

"There is no such thing as writer's block for writers whose standards are low enough." -- William Stafford

I've found willingness to write a crummy first draft to be amazingly effective against writer's block.

Procrastination is what you do until you finally (again) realize that there's no way to skip the crummy first draft, and get to it.

Katherine

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pink
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Mon Dec 17, 2007 10:37 pm Post

I think my first draft IS pretty crummy, but it's actually liberating. Because as I continue it, I start to see how the the bits I've already written will be better when I write them again.

Having one's parents over from australia is a pretty good procrastination excuse. As is being too tired to write, after getting up to a sick child 4 times in one night.
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vic-k
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Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:28 am Post

Katherine, Pink,
I`ve switch the idiot off by the way.

Because I`ve heard similar advice to yours on a number of occasions throughout the forums, I have offered it myself to others. But, how do you cope with the fact that you can`t start typing the crummy first draft!

In `A Horror Story From Beyond the Grave`, I`ve posited the proposition that: because, subconsciously, I believed that the whole idea of me ever being a writer, was nothing more than a sham ( a dilettante`s self indulgence, if you like), I was unable to produce a very simple, 150 word synopsis of an article, I had already written, primarily, because once completed, I would be forced to face and accept the realities of the situation. This is my theory promulgated through, A Horror Story...

This inability lasted for months, whilst at the same time notching up over 450 post in the forums. There has to be something weird going on inside the brain, to cause that to happen. That`s what I mean when I say writers` block is a meaty question to wrestle with. At time it seems to require something more than a `kick start` process of just generating a poor approximation of the finished article. I actually sat down every day for months, determined to flirt off this little synopsis, without one keystroke being made, to that end.

How weird is that? Block and procrastination, as far as I can figure belong to two different species.

That`s my two cents worth

Take care
vic
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kewms
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Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:28 am Post

vic-k wrote:Because I`ve heard similar advice to yours on a number of occasions throughout the forums, I have offered it myself to others. But, how do you cope with the fact that you can`t start typing the crummy first draft!


Maybe not. But you can certainly type *something.* Even if it's just "what the @#$% do i think i'm doing i can't do this" over and over again. Eventually that gets boring, and useful words start to come out.

That's why the Internet is such a trap, because chatting with witty intelligent strangers never gets boring enough to force you to do something else. I highly recommend pen and paper in such cases.

Best resources for fighting procrastination, writer's block, and related maladies:
* Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way -- morning pages, artist's dates, to provide listening practice and fresh inputs, respectively.
* Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird -- sh*tty first drafts and the value of a one-inch picture frame
* Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones -- keep the hand moving
* Forward Motion Writers' Community -- http://www.fmwriters.com/community/dc/dcboard.php -- best writers' site on the Internet, with lots of advice, inspiration, and daily exercises (although note above comment on the Internet trap).

Good luck!

Katherine

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pink
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Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:04 am Post

"How weird is that? Block and procrastination, as far as I can figure belong to two different species."

I agree that they may be different species, but I always thought that writers block was something that happened when you were actually writing - you are writing, but you can't work out how to resolve your characters actions, or you can't find where the next leg of the journey is going. Words are coming out, but they don't make sense, and they fail to live up to the precedent chapters.

I think it's easy to equate writers block and procrastination, but if you aren't sitting down to write at all because you find intercourse with witty strangers on a forum more interesting, then you're procrastinating. Turn off the browser for an agreed time and type waffle. You have to start to write first. I don't think you can have writers block unless you are trying to write.
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vic-k
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Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:04 am Post

Katherine, Pink,
Thanks for your responses. They`re much appreciated.

Probably, Writers` Block is a multi headed monster, with varying degrees of severity and many different causes, or triggers, at its root, as well as many disparate manifestations.

There is something I feel I should make absolutely clear: the, `pseudo`, windup at the top of the page, notwithstanding, in no way am I inferring that people suffering WB, do so as a consequence of dilettantism on their part. It`s proffered by me as a probable cause of my own inadequacies and short comings, and nobodyelse`s.

I came across this website earlier on, it may interest some of you:
http://archetypewriting.com/muse/muse_block.htm
Take care
vic
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Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:21 pm Post

werebear wrote:The root of procrastination is perfectionism.


I think i have to agree. Now that you mentioned it, it makes sense. Cause only in trying to achieve perfection do we get easily dissappointed and discouraged and stall for time until we end up doing less and less. I guess this gives us a different approach.

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Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:33 am Post

kewms wrote:But you can certainly type *something.* Even if it's just "what the @#$% do i think i'm doing i can't do this" over and over again. Eventually that gets boring, and useful words start to come out.


You know, I've never had any luck with that. Usually that's a spiral straight down into feeling like I have never and will never write anything worth anything.

And yet, so many people promote it as THE solution to breaking through writers block. Go figure.

My solution so far is to brainstorm. Where can the characters go from here. What are the possible consequences. What action will bring the plot forward. What action will cause them the most trouble with its consequences. I usually manage to find a path for them amid the dozens of ideas I look at, and that is my path through the writers block. Preferably it is a path that involves both advancing the plot and getting the characters in the most trouble possible via an action that they thought was reasonable at the time.

Fortunately NaNoWriMo has helped me realize that my story doesn't have to be perfect, only that interesting things must happen, and the most interesting things usually involve the biggest problems for the protagonist!

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antony
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Sat Dec 22, 2007 10:39 am Post

I've never had any joy with the "just write any old bollocks" method, either.

Procrastination isn't just about not wanting to write a certain thing, it's about not wanting to write at all, for whatever reason (usually fear). I suspect this is why the "any old bollocks" method doesn't work for some, because it presupposes that you want to write, you just don't want to write what you should be writing. But I've never found this to be true.

So you're going to have to force yourself, one way or the other. Which is difficult, of course, but then nobody said writing would be easy. Or fun. Or lucrative. Or... but I digress ;)

What does work for me, though, is the "shitty first draft" method, which I think has been alluded to in this thread already, and has certainly been mentioned on this board before.

Essentially, it's a matter of discipline and forcing yourself to do two things:

[1] Sit down and write what you should be writing

[2] Continue writing even though you "know" it's awful and tripe and ohmygodmycareerisfinished, etc., and don't stop to revise anything. Just keep ploughing through, allowing yourself to write the most turgid, dull, unimaginitive prose ever.

[2] makes the forcing of [1] easier. And why should you allow yourself [2]? Because NO-ONE WILL SEE YOUR FIRST DRAFT EXCEPT YOU.

Later, on a day when you're feeling more up to it (this normally only comes after you've finished the entire first draft, mind) you can go back and revise it so that it's not so shitty any more. And most of the time, you will discover that actually, it wasn't all that shitty to begin with. You just thought it was at the time.

If that sounds both simple and hard, that's because it is. But, in my experience, it's the most common method among professional, working, prolific writers.
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vic-k
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Sat Dec 22, 2007 11:46 am Post

which brings us back to the fact that, `its all in the mind` :lol:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all :lol:

Vic
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deluxeczech
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Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:20 am Post

I'm not sure if this helps, but I once heard that Stephen King always MADE himself sit down every day and write at least one or two pages. Even if they stink, you'll have furthered your story some - chances are you will be able to expand on what you wrote down the road. When I was writing my first draft, I tried to follow that rule of thumb. Every night after work, I would spend 45 mins to an hour just writing. The good thing about this technique is that you don't get out of sync with your story. If I take too long between writing sessions, I find I have to go back and re-read, which eats up my writing time!

Another technique, especially for scenes with a lot of dialogue, is to just write the dialogue down - don't worry about descriptive words or sentences. I've had a flash of inspiration at the grocery store before, and ended up doing this on my PDA! Or sometimes I jot down really great dialogue at work on a note pad.

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Jacqi Corgan
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Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:12 am Post

I tend to agree that fear of imperfection accounts for a lot of procrastination, at least where writing's concerned. Sometimes, I find that I also procrastinate because I dread the task I'm putting off (for whatever reason), or because I'm having writer's block.

All of the suggestions have been very good. Every writer has to settle on the strategy that works best for him or her. I can add a couple things that have worked for me; maybe they'll help someone else, too.

First, Death to Perfectionism! "Perfect" is the enemy of "good," after all. And, like Gen. George Patton once said, "A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan next week." After all, not everything we write is going to be worthy of Pulitzer consideration - and that's Ok! Really!

When I was a reporter, the knowledge that my editor would yell across the newsroom at me if I blew deadline was a keen motivator. Rather than procrastinate because of writer's block, especially on that critical first "summary lead" paragraph, I'd write down the first thing that came into my mind about the story I was writing, even if it was silly. Once I did that, the rest of the story would flow, and I could return to craft my lead paragraph later.