focused procrastination

“Focused procrastination.”  That’s my new term for the more commonly used word “nap.”

Naps are important to me these days–actually, it’s the growing baby that demands a daily nap and I happily oblige. At a certain point during the day I can feel it coming: my fingers type more slowly. I stare at the last sentence I wrote without reading it. I stop typing. Anything happening on facebook? If I wait long enough, my head bobs at my keyboard (reminiscent of sitting through boring college lectures).

Yesterday I was stuck. I needed to add some more action to chapter 3 of my novel, either in the form of a better transition between two scenes or in the form of a new scene. My mind was blank. Many writers say that when you get writer’s block you just need to push through it. Sit at your computer. Stare at the screen. Just type some words. Write!  I took a different approach.

I closed my computer, lay down on the couch, and did some focused procrastination.  After twenty minutes I had my new scene idea and I was ready to write again.

Creative writing, and, more specifically, novel writing, is completely new to me. I’m reading a lot of writers’ blogs and books written by writers about how they do it, and, after trial and error, I realize that I need to schedule my day in a way that works best for me. Waking up at 6AM and writing for 45 minutes does NOT work! Staring at a blank computer screen for hours on end leaves me frustrated and grumpy at 6PM. Interspersing my writing day with baking, yoga, errands, emails, and blogging leaves me (usually) with tangible results on the page at 6PM.

What are your writing habits? Does procrastination help or hinder the creative process?

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One response to “focused procrastination

  1. Some of us need to leave our brains alone for a while to do the inside work. You can call that procrastination if you want, or you can call it by a kinder name. A friend and I called it “hammock time.” Of course, you have to balance this out–if you spend all your time in the hammock and none of it working, there’s probably another name for that.

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