Start revising my manuscript: Check.
Do this once every day: Um… can you come back to me later?
Yep. Procrastination. We all do it. It’s easier to think about the things we want to do. It’s easier to browse around and scan through things online. It’s easier to come up with literally a million things that need to be done.
You believe: Once I do [insert any of the above], I can write.
Here’s the deal though: You’re wasting your time.
Yep. Wasting your time.
Yes, you need to take care of and spend time with your family. Yes, you need to work to pay the bills. Yes, you need to be there for your friends and hang out with them. Yes, the dishes need washed, the floor needs mopped, and the toilet needs scrubbed. Those are important things. (Please tell me you clean your toilet…) And there’s nothing wrong with thinking things over or reading something online.
Just take a minute to think about what I said above: “It’s easier to come up with literally a million things that need to be done.” When I said literally a million things, I meant literally, not figuratively. How long have you been writing? Now think about how many things you have done from the point you started writing to today that have kept you from writing. Is it a million things? You bet it is.
I get it, it’s fun to think about stuff we want to do. I admit that I think about how it would feel to be a published author. I think about how cool it would be if I could make a living at writing. I think about how amazing it would be to hold a finished copy of my book in my hands. I can’t feel that book in my hands unless I stop thinking about it.
I get it, it’s fun to read up on stuff online. I’m constantly reading about writing and publishing. There are some blogs that post links to awesome articles every week relating to writing and publishing (YA Highway and Adventures In YA and Children’s Publishing). One day, I had approximately 16 tabs opened at once, all but one was related to writing. If each tab (not including my Facebook page) took 3 minutes to read (and that’s if it’s a short article), that amounts to 45 minutes. Almost an hour that I could have spent writing.
I get it, it’s fun to come up with something else to do. I have this obsessive compulsive need to finish certain things before I do things I enjoy. Like, hang up those clean clothes, then you can write. Or, move those boxes back where they belong, then you can write. Once I start, I’ll keep finding something else that “needs done”. Guess what? If nothing can be un-done, I’ll never write.
“What is she getting at here?” you may be wondering.
Here is what I’m getting at: Instead of spending so much time thinking about, reading about, and doing other things, we need to be writing.
There’s nothing wrong with imagining how being published feels (we’d all be lying if we said we haven’t). There’s nothing wrong with researching important things (especially to help our writing and learn the basics about publishing). There’s nothing wrong with doing something that really needs to be done (please clean that toilet).
Just remember: You can never become a published author unless you write.
So, stop the procrastinating. Follow through on that goal. 2012 is “the” year. Don’t let the distractions keep you from reaching for the stars.