Tag Archives: novel writing

Procrastination and skill development

I’m getting really good at procrastinating lately. I suspect it is fear of my writing program, Scrivener, which is truly unfair because it’s a way cool program with enough fun little gizmos and organizing thingies to fill several books.

But maybe that’s the problem. I fear it because it is so wonderful. I am used to the tiresomeness of Office or word-processing things, where you type endlessly and lose information. An organized system is not working for me. But you know how you go to take a towel out of the laundry cupboard and have to move five things and then everything falls out and you finally realize that hell, yes, you need to organize the closet and be done with it? Well, that’s my writing life at present. I have files stored all over the place, virtual files, that is, and revisions of works in progress scattered in a very organic (read: like a compost heap) way throughout my computer and my hard drive and my various USB keys or sticks or zips or whatever we call those things these days. Used to be you’d have a disk, which you’d label and then lose.

My novel needs revision, badly. I haven’t even been able to write the ending because parts of the beginning don’t make sense. So it’s time to sort it out, look at the scenes, maybe rewrite it from memory, keeping in the good things and tossing everything else. Which would, I fear, leave me with about 100 words of the 70,000. And kill me.

But I’ve vowed to pitch this sucker at the Bloody Words Conference in Toronto in June and I’m missing my darling niece’s graduation to do so, so it had better be worth it.

So what do I do instead? I enter a bunch of short writing contests, with rather unspectacular entries. I tell myself I’m meeting deadlines. I am avoiding my novel.

I make Christmas presents for everyone on my list. I tell myself I am learning new skills, giving from the heart, you know. Instead I am hiding, hiding from the heart. The heart of my novel.

I even signed up for Nanowrimo to push myself for the 50,000 word count and finish the blasted thing.

It’s not working.

But my knitting skills have improved. ¬†And I am getting so good at Facebook you just wouldn’t believe it.

Still losing at Lexulous, though. And not exercising me OR the dog. Because I am supposed to be writing.

I feel like I’m on some moibus loop, trotting round and round.

PS: this isn’t my office, thank heavens. I get sweaty just looking at it. It’s just a photographic rendition of my brain, real and computer…

PPS: Don’t miss Bloody Words XII – June 1-3, Toronto. Wonderful conference.




It’s November 1st and the start of the fiendish and fiendishly popular Nanowrimo¬†– National Novel Writing Month. I am campaigning to rename it Internanowrimo, since we are not all United States citizens who participate, but so far the Office of Letters and Light have resisted.

Last year I wrote a novel during this month – or at least most of it. It was good writing practice. We all do Nanowrimo for our own reasons, but for me it was because I spell Procrastination with a capital P and have several little shrines to it throughout my apartment. I even have two live in procrastination assistants, one of whom is sitting on my lap now, blocking access to my keyboard as he pushes his head onto my typing arm or the keyboard itself. On the other hand, he makes it hard for me to get up and putter about this way. When he’s off duty, Dora comes and sits on my arm…

But I’m determined. So, this November, I’m taking a different approach. I have a novel to finish, plus various other writing deadlines to meet. My plan is to use the Nanowrimo framework to guarantee I write 50,000 words this month, on whatever project. That means roughly 2000 words a day, and that will up my production considerably. I’ll enter each bit as I go, totalling up the numbers. With luck, by the end of November, I’ll have a body of work and a writing habit established.

Wish me luck! Or better still, join me. I’m Hyacinthh on the Nanowrimo site – c’mon along and be a writing buddy – we can work to the end point together!