Letter From The Editor - Issue 68 - April 2019

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  Writing Advice by Mette Ivie Harrison
July 2018

All the Ways Authors Procrastinate

Authors are excellent at procrastination. Almost everyone procrastinates all the time. The way that authors are better than other people is that we come up with much more logical-sounding excuses so that almost everyone believes us. And we find lots of ways to look like we’re doing work when we’re not. We’re creative that way.

If you find yourself doing or saying any of the following while you should be writing, you might consider reminding yourself that you are, in fact, procrastinating:

  1. I need more than twenty minutes to get anything useful done.

  2. I’m going to think about this scene today and I’ll write it tomorrow.

  3. Instead of writing, I think I’ll do some research today to help me write later.

  4. I’m not ready to write this book, so I need to read some other books first.

  5. I’m going to take a class on writing instead of writing.

  6. I’ll do some character sketches instead of writing.

  7. I really need to think about which book I should write next, instead of writing.

  8. I should talk to my agent/editor/best friend about what I should write next so I don’t make a mistake.

  9. I just read a book that was close to the one I want to write, so I should probably rethink my plan.

  10. I really love this TV show and I’m going to count it as research for my writing if I marathon it on Netflix this week.

  11. I’m going to go read my last book’s reviews on Amazon/Goodreads so I know what to do better on my next book.

  12. I’m going to write a list of all the books I want to write before I die instead of working on the next one right now.

I’ve done just about every one of these. I know exactly why we writers do this. It’s because we’re scared we’re not good enough. And also because we’re lazy. Writing is hard work. I don’t mean it’s physically labor intensive. It isn’t that. But it’s soul-draining. It hurts in ways that other work doesn’t hurt. It’s putting yourself on the line and taking risks that other people don’t take. So, yes, it takes enormous energy and courage to even start.

But here’s what I’m going to promise you right now: If you write one sentence, one brave first sentence today, the second sentence will be easier. And the next one after that, easier still. You might even forget that other people might soon tell you you’re bad and just fall into the world of your book and have fun.

No guarantees!

Read more by Mette Ivie Harrison

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