Procrastination is not my friend

I’m currently in the writing stage many authors refer to as “revision hell” — when your editor has returned what in your opinion must be a nearly perfect manuscript with notes, suggestions and a lot of changes.

It can be devastating to some people, who take any advice about their work very personally. I’m happy to say I’m not one of those. I actually like having other people read my work and give me feedback. First my critique partners and then when I’ve polished a work as much as I possibly can, to my editor.

But for some reason, getting to the computer and making the time to do the revisions has challenged me. I’m entering the second week of my vacation, and I assumed that I’d be at least half-way through the thirty-one chapters, (It’s a very long book, and my editor cut nearly 10,000 words!)

It’s one thing to complain about not having time to do something when you’re working, or have a lot of interruptions. But when you’ve created time, and then don’t use it well — quite honestly there isn’t much of an excuse.

I even have a lot of motivation for getting this book finished and published. It will be a digital edition, and I’m excited to see how sales of a book in a very different genre, (historical with paranormal elements) will compare to my Western historical romances. I’m writing under a new name, Sibelle Stone, and I’m excited about that too.

So, what’s the problem?

I think the biggest challenge for me has been connecting with this story again. I wrote the book over six years ago, and while it’s always been one my favorites, it involved a lot of research. I have two binders full of material and this is just the first in a series of four books.

So, I don’t think it’s the revisions that I’m afraid of, I think it’s fear of success. Because if this book does well, I’ll be expected to write the other books in the Mystic Moon series. A wonderful but daunting task!

But I’ll then have to become disciplined about my writing, which has always been something of a hobby with me. I don’t write every day, I don’t set page counts for the week, and I’ve never been under contract to produce something in a given time period.

Now with the digital book revolution, I need to write faster, produce better and manage all the other parts of promotion, marketing and sales. No wonder I procrastinate. It’s like having a huge blimp hovering over me, and I’m grasping at all the lines to try to keep it tethered.

But I’m realizing that I’ve forgotten one of the first lessons I learned as a writer. How do you write a book?

Word by word, paragraph by paragraph and page by page. So I will break this task down to its smallest component, and apply myself diligently. I’ve created my own deadline, and I’ll let you know if I make it.

Anyone out there have some good ideas for beating procrastination into the ground?

Deborah Schneider

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8 responses to “Procrastination is not my friend

  1. Good luck Deb!

    There really is no good cure for procrastination beyond just putting yourself to task until it’s done. πŸ˜€

    It does sound like reconnecting with the story is priority. Maybe trying to figure out what it is that you loved so much? Reading through my old stories usually reminds me why I love writing them.

    K

  2. Reconnection is key, I think. Once you re-acquaint yourself with the story and characters – you’ll probably wonder “what took me so long to do this,and why was I procrastinating?”

    I’m sure you’ll be perfect,

    eden

  3. I agree with Eden and Katy. Reconnecting with the characters/story will hopefully make diving back in too hard to resist. πŸ™‚

    Good luck!
    Lisa

  4. Well, the strange thing is after I wrote that article I started working on the revisions, and before I knew it — it was 3:30am and I had nearly half the book done. I realized what looks like a LOT of changes really isn’t that much. My editor is asking for better verbs and reminds me often… SHOW DON’T TELL. And I have a habit of using some words often.

    Thanks everyone. Just putting my frustration into words made a difference.

  5. I think you already discovered my solution. Rewriting is like going to the dentist, or before the principle when you were a kid in school. The getting to it is always worse than the task! So, you yell “Damn the Torpedoes!” and dive in! And before you know it, it’s 3:30am. Knowing that, why then do i suffer from the same malaise? πŸ˜‰

    Wally

  6. Sometimes I feel like I not only have to reconnect with a particular project but with writing itself. I found that listening to past RWA conference workshops while I take my dog for a walk or while I do housework makes me eager to get back to the keyboard.

  7. Like Wally says, “I think you already discovered my solution.” Whenever I am daunted by a project, I promise myself I’ll work for fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes isn’t horrible, and I usually find after working that long (short), my momentum’s up and I can keep on going.

    Good luck to you.

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