Friday, February 20, 2009

How Do I Procrastinate? Let Me Count the Ways...

And oh, there are many to count! I'm having a bit of an 'off' week, a week where I just can't seem to sit still and concentrate. Since I want to treat my writing as a job, I try not to do things I wouldn't have done in my previous corporate life -- like get to work late or bunk off early. It's funny how I was so committed to my job when I was slaving away for others, but now that I'm my own boss and striving for something that's very important to me, I'm struggling.

And here are my top five enablers (to procrastinate, not to write!):

1. Looking out the window. Sounds innocuous, doesn't it? But it's amazing how much time I can waste. I live on a great street, as I've blogged about before. There are always people and buses going by, the odd police car with siren flashing, and forlorn tourists. After sitting at my desk for a year, I am intimately acquainted with the rhythm of the street. I know what time the woman from the antique shop across the way comes out to empty her rubbish (and usually, I know what coloured stockings she'll be wearing -- she seems to own only one pair in hot pink). I know it's eleven o'clock when the clothing shop 'My Favourite Thing' opens up. And unfortunately I know it's three o'clock when the group of screaming teens takes over the bus-stop directly across the street, pushing and shoving as hormones hurtle through their veins.

2. Google Reader. I love reading blogs, but they do take up a lot of time. I've tried to limit my blog-reading to either morning or evening, but once you break the rules, you're sucked in as you follow link after link. It's like being pulled into a vacuum where you can only escape by forcibly wrenching yourself away -- or in my case, turning off the Internet connection.

3. Twitter. I believe Twitter was invented to prevent writers from writing. It is the Devil's work. Enough said.

4. Food. What better way to procrastinate than by eating? After all, we need to eat to survive! Nothing wrong with grabbing a few cashew nuts in the morning. They're good for you. Hm, maybe I should just finish that bag.... you see the problem here. One handful of cashews is never just one handful of cashews. I will keep going, shamelessly, until I finish the whole bag. I figure it's better just to get the distraction out of the way. I don't buy cashew nuts anymore.

5. Online newspapers. In my case, The Guardian and The Independent -- because I need to know what's going on in the world! And maybe I'll get some good story ideas from them. What's this, Victoria Beckham has a new collection out? How interesting. And TopShop has a sale?

I'm getting annoyed at myself just writing this! I need to get some work done!


Anonymous said...

Stop checking out my stocking luv and get back to work.

Mike said...

Not that I personally want you not to, but looking at this entry reminded me of a note from SF writer Robin Hobb

Marsha said...

Haha! Thanks, Mike - I love it. Sooo true.

And Antique Lady (Anonymous), can I gently suggest you at least branch out from hot pink?

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Marsha,

Staring out the window is fab for are all the others you listed.

I haven't joined twitter yet...Thanks for the warning. I have to write novels sometime.