Non-writers don’t understand. I don’t expect them to, what with all their activities, and errands, and family time—most taking place in that overly “people-ly” world. That world without dragons, without princesses, without grand love stories, creepy monsters, or superpowers. If they lived in “our” world, then they would appreciate that procrastination is creativity.
I’m a part-time writer. Time is a critical resource. A week of earning a living can deplete one’s energy (and spirit). Some weeks, it takes great effort to fire up the Mac and get to the important work of storytelling.
Still, writing is my love. It’s my passion. I have a gazillion stories I wish to tell. But as you know, creative writing is a bit more complicated than picking words from the Oxford dictionary. And although those unwritten ideas may persist in their “write me” chants, kicking on the creative engines is a process.
And what looks like “procrastination” is a critical fuel for those churning creative gears. In fact, I’d say it’s no different than a star athlete warming up before a game or an orchestra tuning their instruments before the concert. In fact, I’d say a writer’s procrastinationisan art form in and of itself. I meant to write a book on creative procrastination, but I haven’t got around to it.
You know, if these critics with their time management mantras, their to-do lists, their Pomodoro, and their damn infuriating scolding silent looks observed the entire writing process then they’d understand that we’re always writing, and most of the best stuff gets done when our fingers aren’t on the keyboard.
It’s a ritual really.
Mine is genius.
First, I have to get coffee (vodka if I can rationalize it to the time of day)
Next, I open Scrivener.
Then I open Spotify and select a playlist…I need the music after all—it’s a critical part of my process. Now often, for a story, I require just the right song. Usually, I can’t quite remember the title . . . so I try to hum my way to recollection. And, no, I can’t just pick anysong . . . it HAS to be this one—the one that I can’t remember.
No problem. I minimize Scriv and do a little research. Wow! Did you know that Spider plants reduce dust allergens in a room by almost 90%? Yes, that’s the danger of a writer’s research. It can be a rabbit's hole. But even though Spider Plants have nothing to do with the song, I can probably use the tidbit in some future story, so it wasn’t a waste of time.
Once the music is good, I realize I can’t work at a cluttered desk, so I reorganize my stuff and then remember that thing that would be very inspirational on said desk. No time like the present, so I hop over to Amazon to find it. And once I have a respectable amount of stuff in my shopping cart I check out. Time is important, so I have the whole, one-click thing set up . . . I’m no rookie after all.
Now I’m ready to write . . .
Right after I refill my coffee.
Of course, it’s rude to get coffee without chatting with my wife for a minute or two. I mean she is my wife, not the hired help, and I’ve done extensive research on marriage etiquette.
“How’s the writing going?” she asks.
“Excellent,” I answer. “Things are really starting to flow. Hey did you know Spider Plants reduce room allergens by almost 90%.”
“Is that what your story is about?”
“Of course not, I’m just saying . . ."
Then it’s back to the keyboard, open Scriv, and I dive into the story…right after I jot down notes for that “other” story I just remembered. I like to keep my story ideas organized and tagged, and I like to get the idea on the page before something distracts me.
And then it occurs to me that maybe I should just find that new potential story's “right” song before I begin.
Oh and this post is pretty witty, I should email it to SK and see what she thinks before I get back to writing . . .
By Raymond Esposito
Raymond Esposito is an award-winning dark fiction author and Amazon bestseller. His articles and interviews have appeared in a variety of publications including Family Circle and Sanitarium Magazine. He has a degree in Cognitive Psychology and has spent over 28 years as a criminal behaviorist.