I have discovered an extremely effective delaying tactic–research. As long as I’m reading about the work my character will be doing and the setting he’ll be doing it in, it’s still writing time. Right? I’m making progress on my story. Right?
I love opening my resource book and scribbling notes from it in my journal, or scribbling in the margin if the book is mine. I print articles and file them in cheerful folders for highlighting and more margin scribbling later. And I learn so much, too!
Did you know that a medieval scribe might have to sharpen his or her quills sixty times during a day’s work? (Yes there were female scribes and illuminators, too.) Did you know that pages in today’s books are rectangular because the parchment that was used in most of the pre-Gutenberg books was cut that way because of the shape of the animal’s skin from which the pages were made?
All very useful information, but it’s not helping my story get written. Why the procrastination? Simple answer: because I know how hard the writing will be. I know that what’s ahead will be a slow and often dissatisfying process, and yeah, I find launching a new project scary, too. What a wuss!
I like to think of myself as a writer, so enough whining, reflection, justification, procrastination, whatever you want to call it. Time to ‘writer-up’ and get to work. I have an appointment with my treadmill desk this afternoon. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.
Do you procrastinate? What lures you away from the blank page? What helps you get the writing done?