Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday: How I Procrastinate

Although the better question is how don't I procrastinate?

So. Here are some of the ways I put off writing.

I Will Just Quickly:

It goes something like this.

I will just quickly cook a complicated curry with lots of ingrediants. Then I will write. I will just quickly clean up the aftermath of cooking complicated curry with lots of ingrediants. Then I will write. Actually, I'll just quickly feed the cats, because they're meowing loudly, and I will just water the plants, because they would be meowing loudly if they knew how to meow. Then I will write. Wait. I will just quickly look for a note that I wrote down earlier about the dream I had last night, because there was something in it that might be relevant. Then I will write. Honestly. But the night news is on. I have no idea why I'm suddenly so interested in the night news. I will just quickly watch, like, five minutes of the night news. Then I will write. I will just quickly make myself a hot drink. Then I have to do writing. I should just quickly check the internet though, in case anything has happened on the internet really suddenly that I should know about. I will just quickly brush my teeth, and then I will just quickly go to bed. Then I will write while I'm asleep.

There's an immense sense of urgency and productiveness, without any actual productiveness at all. You're always on the thing before writing. Hell, it's just one step away. Once you have finished the thing that you are doing. Then you will sit down, and you will write, and it will be easy peasy. It's like perpetually wandering over to a door without ever actually walking through it.

Making Mocha in a Massive Mug by Mixing Hot Chocolate Powder With Decaf, Then Sitting on the Couch And Watching Medical Dramas:

I actually have no idea why I do this. I don't even like the sight of blood. 

The Infinite Internet:

I have a lot of beloved people who I am only in contact with via the internet. And that means google groups and facebook and forums and twitter and reading blogs and emailing*.  To a certain extent, that's actually justified. If the internet is your only way to hang out with someone, and they happen to be awesome, then you have to hang out on the internet in order to hang out with them. You know? So I think as procrastination excuses go, it's fairly legit. The problem is how you look at the clock after a while, and start wondering if it's wrong, because it says that five hours have somehow passed, and you were just sitting down to check up on things for five minutes. And now it's time to go to bed.

Also, there's househunting on Trade Me Property. I am a chronic househunter. I hunt for houses even when I have no reason whatsoever to move house at all. I hunt for houses I will live in when I one day have money, like actual money like other grown up people seem to have, houses I might live in next time I move, and houses that my friends could live in, and houses that my characters could live in. I hunt for houses I would live in if I was abandoned and penniless, and houses I would live in if I was swimming in money like Scrooge McDuck.

I love houses. Looking at people's homes is sometimes the closest you can get to looking inside their heads. Some people get to know their characters by filling out questionnaires about their favourite colour and all that stuff. I get to know mine by imagining where they live. So househunting is a somewhat justified form of procrastination, sometimes. Or it would be, if I spent less hours househunting on the internet and more hours actually writing.

And there's Wikipedia. Oh, Wiki. I could totally date Wiki, if I wasn't engaged. You know, you're about to start writing, then you quickly decide that you want to just look up this one article on Wiki. Or maybe two. Just quickly, just to make double extra sure you're being accurate and all your characters are being mentally ill in exactly the right way and the tropical cyclone doesn't have unrealistic details that a weather geek might call you on one day. And then all the articles have links, and the links are interesting. So you go from reading stuff that's closely related to writing to stuff that's vaguely related. Then you notice links in the vaguely related articles, and they all look very interesting too. And then many hours and many links later you realise that you've somehow gone from cyclones to the Norwegian royal family, and you're not quite sure what happened, except that it definitely wasn't writing.

Finally, I can't talk about the internet without talking about YouTube. Because YouTube has so many opportunities for an eager procrastinator, and seriously, it can eat up hours effortlessly. I love investigating beautiful music, and watching tv shows that I can't track down DVDs for right at this moment, and watching stand up comedians being wittier than I am, and watching vlogbrothers.

Maybe one day I will be efficient with time. Actually, I'll be efficient with time right now. Immediately. That is, once I've reread a few chapters of a book I've already read six times, and played some spider solitaire, and researched my future wedding dress. Ok? Immediately.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow. (Mark Twain)

Also, you should go find out about how my fellow highwayers procrastinate. You know, if you get around to it.

*I'm abysmal at emailing, actually, and procrastinate far writing an email far worse than I ever procrastinate working on a story. You know, in case you're wondering why you sent me that email way back in the day and never heard anything. Never fear! It's not because of you. It's because I'm an idiot with an irrational email aversion!


Kaitlin Ward said...

I do the "I will just quickly" ALL the time. There's always something that needs to be done "just quickly"...

Michelle Schusterman said...

DAMN. I have never heard anything articulated quite as well as you "I will just quickly" rant. You nailed it completely! Walking perpetually to a door and never going through it, lol.

Kristin Miller said...

Kitchen procrastination FTW. But, how can testing six different methods of macaron meringue be procrastination when the outcome is so tasty? No, kitchen love can never be as evil as general procrastination. :)

Amanda Hannah said...

You Tube gets me every single time.
And I love your new blog layout!

Leila Austin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leila Austin said...

'I will just quickly' is the vast majority of my procrastination. I have it down to an art these days.

Macaron meringue sounds delicious and I will totally help test six different kinds. That doesn't count as procrastination at all. Man. We really need to live in the same city one day.

I can't believe it took me so long (like, three years) to realise that it might be better to download a pretty layout for this blog than have everything being all plain and white and doctor's waiting room-like. Lol.

Leila Austin said...

Damn. Just somehow posted the same comment twice. On my own blog.

*is very clever like that*