The Positive Side of Procrastination

The Positive Side of Procrastination

Are all writers procrastinators? There are so many novelists who talk about the wasted time spent on social media or other things instead of writing. They will do everything in the world first (see what’s new on Netflix, scroll social media, or check emails) before sitting down to write. Why is that? The truth is… for most authors, writing is hard work. 

On movies and television, you see writers who type thousands of words with little to no effort in a short time. For some writers, this might be true, but for most of us, it isn’t. Every word is an effort. We struggle with plots, characters, dialogue, world-building and research. It is no wonder that we procrastinate.

Admitting You Have a Problem

As you have already guessed, I have a problem. I am battling with procrastination. The sequel to Hollow Edge is taking longer than I thought to write. When I open up scrivener ready to get some work done, I get distracted by other things.

The good news is that I am not ashamed or too afraid to admit it, and neither should you be. I bet you’re saying to yourself right now, “I don’t have a problem.” Well, I am here to tell you that if you have this problem, there is hope for you.

The first step towards recovery is being able to admit your problem. I will go first ‘Hi, my name is Frankie and I am a procrastinator.’ That wasn’t so bad. So, are you ready to admit that you should be doing something else right now besides reading this? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us; all the time.

Procrastinators Anonymous for Writers

Maybe I should start a Procrastination Anonymous for Writers (PAW) group. It would be very popular. The thought sounds good, but I’m not too sure about how great of an idea it would be to start one.

Reasons it would fail
1. Members may keep postponing the meetings for no clear reason.
2. There would not be enough room to hold almost every single writer in the world.

We all procrastinate. As a matter of fact, we are all experts at it and lucky for us; it isn’t as bad as they make it out to be.

Undivided Attention

It may sound crazy, but I believe that the rest of the world also loves it when I procrastinate. Suddenly, everyone seems to get my undivided attention. My dog gets walked for a few extra minutes, my cat gets more attention, housework gets done, and emails get opened.

The even crazier thing about this is I only procrastinate like this with writing. I don’t know why I do it, but it always happens. Maybe I think I need the perfect conditions to write. A rainy day, a fully charged laptop battery, and a quiet house with no distractions. Don’t forget about being in the mood to write. That’s a big one.

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Benefits of Procrastination

Here are two benefits to procrastinating:

1. Time to Think

As a writer, procrastination gives me the time to think about my book while I’m doing something else instead of writing it. What better way is there to make use of all that time other than using it to contemplate new ideas, fine-tune details, and get everything just perfect before I sit down to write?

Some of my best ideas come when I am in the shower or out taking a walk. (I usually have my phone with me to take notes or I yell at Siri when I am in the shower.)

I know one thing; it may have taken me 20 hours to write something that I could have written in less than an hour, but who is to say that I would have come up with the same ideas that fast without letting the story marinate?

2. Avoid Frustration

If you think about it, procrastinating can be useful and necessary because it allows writers to let go. Sometimes when you hold on to an idea too tight or try to force creativity, it disappears completely, leaving you frustrated.

But when you just let it go, it comes to you naturally. It’s no different from trying to remember that name on the tip of your tongue. When you wrack your brain trying to remember it, it never comes; but the second you stop trying and just let it go, the name pops into your thoughts as if you weren’t even trying to remember it in the first place? Some things are just unexplainable or strange.

I am not making excuses for my procrastination; instead, just learning to appreciate and accept it.

Famous Writers That Procrastinate

I became curious and did some research and found out that most writers procrastinate. That is when I chalked up my procrastinating tendencies as a trait that all writers and creative people are born with. Here is a list of many well-known writers considered to be some of the biggest procrastinators.

  • J. K. Rowling
  • Margaret Atwood
  • Victor Hugo
  • Henry Melville
  • Franz Kafka

Now I don’t feel so bad.

Final Thoughts

So now that I have admitted my problem, which has turned out to be not much of a problem at all, can you admit to being a procrastinator and accept the rewards and benefits that come with resourcefully killing time? Let me know in the comments.


Until next time

Feature photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.