We all have them. Those little blighters who woo us away from the actual work, tricking us into thinking it needs to be done, like, now. Here are my top 10, in no particular order because let’s face it, procrastination has no standards.
Argument: Because I need to eat to LIVE! Right? I think that’s a pretty good argument, don’t you?
Reality: Getting up for chocolate, or to open the fridge door and stare for five minutes only to find that it is still stocked with the same products that were there 20 minutes ago when you last looked and decided there was nothing in there you want, is not the same as eating your three meals a day so that you can, you know, live. Get in, do what you need to do, then back away. Also, if you are like me and convinced that chocolate is a plausible energy booster, keep it by your computer so that you don’t “need” to get up for it.
Argument: Because a clean house is a clean mind.
Reality: The wardrobe that has needed cleaning out since 1982 can wait another day while you write your damn novel.
Argument: Because Stephen King said that “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”
Reality: Reading is so very important to writing, but if you spend absolutely ALL your time reading then you won’t have any time to use all those new skills and words in your own writing. Balance your time between the two.
- Staring at Walls
Argument: Because I can.
Reality: They’re not going anywhere, look at them later.
Argument: Because I can’t write with my eyes closed…and I’m tired! And dreams make great fodder for stories.
Reality: You slept the required seven hours last night and another nanna nap is just not necessary. Yes, bed looks so good right now and it’s cold and rainy outside, but hey, you can sleep when you’re a hundred and eighty and after you’ve published your 50th bestseller.
Argument: Because eight day Buffy & Angel marathons are totally legitimate methods of studying the fantasy genre and excellent examples of brilliant writing (thanks Joss Whedon).
Reality: Moderation is the key. Get creative inspiration and watch an episode (or four) but then get back to business.
Argument: Because I’m totally honing my writing skills and getting constructive feedback from a wider audience.
Reality: While you’re blogging about writing you’re novel, you’re not actually writing your novel. Do what you need to do, but don’t forget about the bigger picture.
- Social Media
Argument: Because I have to connect with my readers and get my name out there.
Reality: Twitter and Facebook and Google+ are your frenemies. They will help you get your name out there and act all nice to your face, but just when you least expect it, BAM! Those good intentions of yours to spend a mere half hour replying to tweets and promoting your blog, all of a sudden turn into the Black Hole of Evil Time-Sucking Badness. Before you know it five hours have gone by and you come to your senses only to find that you’ve been watching ninja cats and talking unicorns called Charlie on YouTube for an unspecified amount of time. How did you even get there? The Black hole of Evil Time-Sucking Badness has ways, and social media is its minion. Don’t be a sucker.
Argument: Because keeping healthy and fit is important.
Reality: Thinking about exercise, buying gym clothes and talking about exercise are not the same as actually doing exercise. Or so I’m told. 30 minutes a day is all it takes. Do it, then get back to the writing.
Argument: He’s my arch nemesis and purposefully made it so there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything just to spite me.
Reality: Time is an asshole. He always has and always will be an asshole. When you have two hours to finish an assignment, he thinks it’s funny to go at the speed of light just to keep you on your toes. When you’re at work with nothing to do he slows down so the minutes drag by and you end up death staring the clock. He ain’t gonna change, so your only choice is to work with what you have seeing as the bastard is not gonna budge.
What are your biggest distractions and time wasters?