Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Six years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. This week we learn about the seven sins of procrastination…
The Seven Sins Of Procrastination
by Donna L Martin
Any one of these temptations could be a potential roadblock preventing a writer from reaching their publication goal. Take a look and see if any of them seem all too familiar.
TALKING IT TO DEATH
Ideas are all around us. Different people and events cross our paths every day and snap, we suddenly have a handful of ideas. Every one of them potentially able to carry us over the threshold from simply wishing we were authors to becoming the real thing. But instead of gluing our seats to the chair and actually using one of them, we mull things over and talk our ideas to death while we drown in a sea of indecision over which one to use first.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Contrary to popular belief, the only things a writer really needs to create a story are a writing instrument and something to write on. Sure, things like a top of the line computer system, antique writing desk, & pearl handled ink pens are all fine and dandy, but our ancestor the caveman still told a great story with just stone and ash. Don’t let your search for the perfect tools of the trade distract you from the task at hand which is to get your story written.
FINE TOOTH RESEARCH
Some stories like nonfiction require a lot of initial research before the actual writing can begin. Other stories like fiction, not so much. It’s one thing to gather the right amount of information in order to maintain your story’s believability and quite another to bury your idea under mounds of unnecessary research. Learn the difference.
There will come a time in every writer’s career when they need a mental and sometimes physical break from actual writing. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact a writer will usually return with more clarity when their story is seen through a fresh pair of eyes. Just don’t let the time spent away from the writing to become an excuse for channel surfing. Television, social media, online games and the Internet in general are extremely tempting and it takes a dedicated writer to exercise some self-control when it comes to their “down” time.
FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL
This is where a writer decides on a story line and might even get off to a great start. The words fill up the pages and the dialogue flows sweet like wine. Then comes the reality check when the writer takes time to actually read what they have written and discovers they have been playing Plot Ping Pong…a nasty little game where a story’s main character zigzags through a great story idea with no clue of where they are actually going.
Very few writers stand on the mountain top and proclaim to love doing story revisions. Most consider them a necessary evil. But again, like fine tooth research, there is a difference between performing multiple revisions in order to mold your story into the finest creation you can and revising simply to avoid facing the fact your story is now ready to face the critics of the world.
HERE A CRITIQUE, THERE A CRITIQUE
Successful writers know they can’t travel the path to publication alone. Well, they can…but chances are they will not achieve their highest goals. Great stories are the result of a collective process where a manuscript goes through the hands of critique groups, agents, editors, and publishers before it makes it to book form. It may even pass through those same hands more than once. But when a writer continuously seeks the opinions of others simply because of a fear…be it fear of failure or fear of success…a potentially great story finds itself stuck in the never ending Critiqueland Loop until it passes out from exhaustion.
I have found there is a simple weapon in the fight against these sins of procrastination. I call it my SHIELD OF BELIEF. When I BELIEVE in the strength of my story idea, I will put my best writing foot forward. When I BELIEVE I have done the proper research to create the foundation of my story’s world, I can relax and let my story speak for itself. When I BELIEVE in the opinions of those I trust to be honest with me about my work, I can send my completed manuscript out into the world with the confidence it will one day find a proper home.
All I need to do is BELIEVE. What about YOU? Do you BELIEVE you were born to write or do you let the seven sins of procrastination prevent you from your true calling?
International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.