How to avoid procrastination

Friday, 1 April 2016


Image from Unsplash


"Be unfaithful to your first creations: a novel is a relationship, but poetry is sex."  Ian Duhig 


Can I just start by saying I really shouldn't be writing this right now. What I really should be doing is firstly writing a feature I'm on a tight deadline for and secondly writing my novel which I vowed to finish by the end of this month.

But whenever I have things to do, other distractions suddenly become so shiny and bright. Today I've tweeted, Facebooked, whatsapped, text messaged, listened to a podcast, browsed holidays online. Oh and sent one email relating to my feature...

I was discussing procrastination with a writer friend a couple of weeks ago. He told me of an author (I forget who) who put glue in his laptop to stop himself from accessing the internet when he was meant to be writing. It sounded rather extreme to me. Why not just turn the Wifi off?

Procrastination isn't just a modern day dilemma though. Victor Hugo apparently locked away all his clothes to meet a tight deadline for Hunchback of Notre Dame, which he wrote it in three months wearing nothing but a grey shawl. I've considered something similar, but truth be told I do most of my writing in my jammies anyway.

If I'm in a relationship with my novel then it's a bit of a messed-up one. There's days, sometimes weeks when we have nothing to do with each other. There's days when I love it and think it's the best thing ever and days when I think that frankly I could have done better. There's certainly many days when I'm gagging for some torrid 'poetry' on the side.

But oh the good days, when my book and I cuddle up in our own little dream world and the words just flow... that's when it all seems worth it and I wonder how I could ever have doubted.

My mind is unfaithful with ideas of poems, short stories and other books I'm desperate to start on. And yes I flirt with them sometimes, but I know I'm in this relationship for the long haul.

This draft is getting finished for richer for poor, in sickness or in health. So the poetry will just have to wait...

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