Ways I have professionally procrastinated when I should have been writing:
- Map making
- Reading, browsing, checking out, and buying books on the craft of novel writing.
- Reading author websites
- Reading writing forums on Reddit
- Re-reading bits from favorite books to see how other authors handled plot and character development.
- Searching for tutorials on world building and race/species creation.
- Blogging or using social media
- Making graphics for blog posts
- Obsessing over one chapter rather than working on the whole.
- Being weird about my writing environment.
Whilst engaged in #4, I stumbled across this post in which Chuck writes about all the different ways you can outline your novel. In discussing a ‘con’ for the Story Bible method, he says:
A very good way to waste time productively. Most things like this have a horizon line of functionality, and it’s very easy to traipse past that horizon line and continue writing your worldbuilding story bible for 16 years while never committing word one to the actual book you’re writing. It feels productive. But after a point, it damn sure isn’t.
Some of those rabbit holes I fall down are productive and interesting and some spark new ideas or solve problems (like my map making). I also find in stepping away from my novel to do something mindless or professionally procrastinate, a solution for a sticky plot point will present itself like magic, and I’ll have an ‘ah-ha’ moment. But there is definitely a balance, it can be way too easy to waste too much time doing other things.
Like making this print to hang over my computer.
I didn’t know who first coined the phrase when I made it, but it appears that the brilliant ‘butt in chair’ is attributed to the incredible Jane Yolen.
So now that I’ve made the print to yell at me, I’ll be more focused, right?