Today, I want to talk to you about a very particular skill you must cultivate if you want to be a proper writer. Procrastiwriting. Just as singers do vocal warm-ups before singing, the writer procrastiwrites before writing. It's part of the natural process. There are some writers that claim a robust mental state that allows them to dive into their work the minute they sit down, but most writers' brains need minutes or hours before they are able to take on the emotionally daunting task of writing.
The amateur writer may have dabbled in procrastiwriting, but if you want to take your writing routine to the next level, it's time to become a professional procrastiwriter. This is by no means an exhaustive list and you're more than welcome to add your own suggestions in the comments.
6 Ways to Up Your Procrastiwriting Game:
- Proper environment is key. It's up to you to decide what the best situation for your writing practice is. For those who prefer their home, take the time to clean off your desk. Really clean. Go ahead, get the Lysol out and wipe that sucker down. Make sure your desk is as organized as you want your mind to be. Feel free to take the time to pick a candle that matches your writing mood. For those who write outside their home, make sure you've gotten into the perfect spot. Some writers claim productivity from any seat at their coffee shop or library, but a true procrastiwriter knows that the third seat down on the south side of the table is the best one. (Actual positioning of your "perfect" seat may vary.)
- Finish up any other work that might distract you. This is the perfect time to remember the laundry in the wash or the clogged shower you noticed yesterday. Some writers ignore chores like this or even use writing as a way to avoid them. A proper procrastiwriter resists the temptation to jot down a note for later, though. The true pros have entire lists of chores that are only important right before they're about to start working. There is no more productive cleaning time than when you should be writing a book. Those who leave the house to write will obviously need to tackle this first, you could even throw in a few errands if you want to go the extra mile.
- Make sure you have a proper writing beverage. Here is where those who write at home will have an advantage over those who write at the coffee shop. Coffee shops, while convenient places to write (the louder and more dramatic, the better, of course) have the disadvantage of your beverage being prepared for you. The lovely baristas have all kinds of shortcuts that to make sure that you spend the least amount of time waiting. At home, the procrastiwriter can truly flourish. Take time choosing your blend of tea or coffee. Heat the water. Brew the drink. Add your preferred amounts of cream and sweetener. Wait as it cools to a drinkable temperature. Waiting in line adds a mere five minutes, while a hand-on beverage approach can double, even triple that time.
- Don't forget to review your notes. I keep most of my notes in a little notebook and I always try to review them before I start writing. I find my procrastiwriting habits derive the most benefit from short, cryptic notes. For example, "Fix This" always adds at least six minutes of confusion to my procrastiwriting routine. Now is also the prime time to reread what you wrote during your last writing session. I know, I know, many writers swear this is the way to get caught up perfecting the same chapter over and over again, but you need to perfect it sometime. Now is as good a time as any.
- Choose your music carefully. The amateur procrastiwriter may have a specific playlist for the project they're working on, but I'm here to say that if you are serious about procrastiwriting, those days are behind you. A true procrastiwriter knows that each writing mood requires its own playlist. And if the muse if being particularly finicky, you might need a specific song. On repeat. Resist the urge to click around randomly until you settle for a good enough song, instead methodically search your music library until you've found THE writing song. After all, you can't be sure until you've gone through them all.
- Social media is the procrastiwriter's best friend. How else will everyone know what a productive writer you are? People find it inspiring if you tweet or snap your pre-writing routine, so make sure to keep them updated. Look up your favorite authors' feeds and look at how much procrastiwriting they are (or aren't) getting done. Find inspiring quotes about writing and character development. And don't forget to take an "#amwriting" photo. You've got your drink and your notes and your computer, fiddle around with them until you've got a cute set-up and voila, you're an Instagram star. Make sure you keep at least one social media up while writing, you may need it to complain about how hard writing is.
Disclaimer: This is all in good fun. I have done every single one of these things (or variations thereof) as I avoided the work that really needed doing. (Of course, sometimes the shower really DOES need unclogging.) I am mocking only myself and any resemblance to other persons is PURELY coincidental.