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October 11, 2011

PHYLLIS MIDDLETON: I have a Confession

I have a confession. I am the Great Procrastinator. Why? Well, I will think about that tomorrow….

Seriously, that’s my problem.

I am a person of full steam ahead in getting things done or absolutely nothing at all.  I doubt I have much of an in-between state. Generally, if it can wait, it will until it becomes that next highest priority thing to get done.

I admire people like fellow PP Sylvia McDaniel who can write for fifteen minutes sometime during her day and then move on to whatever is next. Those fifteen minutes she puts in her writing falls in my “in-between” state. The one that isn’t on the higher priority to get done list or my other extreme side in which I’ve had a bear of a day and my mind shuts down, saying leave me alone!

I need to find the nice middle of the road place where I can be comfortable to sit down and write for that fifteen to thirty minutes and NOT have my mind telling me something is more important or I have to get this done before "yada yada yada."

Telling me to get Butt in Chair, Fingers on Keys doesn’t do it for me for this type of situation. I can do that easily enough when I am motivated and the muse is on fire.  I need help on the times when the story isn’t quite there and my muse’s stubborn streak is active.

So, there is my dilemma.  I hope to hear from many people with your insights and suggestions and yes, even mind tricks will be accepted!



Pamela Stone said...

Right there with you Phyllis. I am not one who can carve out 15 minutes here and half an hour there. Now that said, I do keep a notepad close by so if some little tidbit jumps out at me I can jot it down. My memory isn't what it once was. Ha.

But what I do instead is allot an hour per day to write. Typically late in the evening after all the priority things are attended to or I can procrastinate them away. I tell myself that my hour of writing is my reward. Whether I actually write, or I organize my notes, or I tweak the chapter I recently finished, I spend that hour on my writing. And if I really get motivated, sometimes that hour turns into two or three.

But we all have our own system, so you have to do whatever works.

chris keniston said...

is that something like - hands on keys and - oh I forgot to balance the checkbook! or - Oh I have to put the sheets in the dryer!

cause yeah been there done that - as a matter of fact I'm just itching to run downstairs because yesterday was the day to give my dog his heart worm meds and I forgot and I don't want to forget again!!

unfortunately, my best answer is always going to be: find a nice comfy chair on a beach with a fully charged laptop battery and write away. nothing will distract you there - And as soon as I win the lottery I'll invite y'all to join me!!

Phyllis said...


So nice to know I am not alone out there. I will have to look seriously at carving out some special writing time. Thanks!

Phyllis said...

Oh Chris, so so have that right! When I try to do short term writing stint my brain just won't go there.

Unfortunately, if I see beach, my butt will be in the water playing with the fishes. Perhaps my Colorado mountains will inspire the butt in chair..... Hum, that could be it!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a procrastinator as much as get sidetracked. LOL

Vicki Batman

Phyllis said...

Vicki...I am doomed. If it is not procrastination
doing me in, then it being sidetracked! Thanks for putting a name to it! LOL

Sylvia said...

Hey Phyllis,
I think we all procrastinate. This weekend, loved our Sunday weather, I had more than 15 minutes available and I caught up my emails, cleaned my desk and edited a chapter. I could have written, but instead I played catch up. Try to write for 15 minutes and then reward yourself. We all think we have to block out huge chunks of time, but they're not always available. But I have to admit, when the words are flowing, there is nothing more fun than writing.

Find what inspires you to sit in the chair and write and use that to keep you there. Whatever works has to come from you, no one else.

Phyllis said...

Thanks Sylvia.

You know what is interesting? My creative juices seem to flow more at night.. Deep night. When I worked nights, I often was more inspired to write and did so.

Now that I graduated to days with weekends off, my overall life is good, and the writing life has gone down the tubes.

Go figure.

Sylvia said...

Hey Phyllis,
If the middle of the night is when you write the best, can you either get up early or go to bed late?

You're such a good storyteller and I want to see your stories in print.

Kathy Ivan said...

Procrastination, being sidetracked, whatever you call it "I has it." LOL

I can always seem to find something to keep me away from the computer, but, I'm almost always still thinking about the current work in progress, planning my next scene or next chapter. The trick is actually getting the butt in the chair long enough to write it down.

No solutions for you except make the time when you can, when the day job, the house, and just life in general can be put on the back burner for even a short time and mentally focus on either what you've already written or what you plan to write for just a minute or two to get you into the write brain pattern for being creative and go.

Again, you know me so--Do as I say, not as I do. I am just as big a procrastinator as you! (Uh, oh, I rhymed, that can't be good). :-)

Phyllis said...

Ah, Sylvia, thank you. (Sniffle). I need to craft out that time, I agree. Just finding it.

Kathy, I hear you gf! I think you hit on the problem....mentally focused.

Karilyn Bentley said...

You are not alone in procrastinating. That's why I'm blogging instead of writing. :) I'm not sure what kind of advice to give, seeing I often don't take my own (LOL!) but it does help to allot a certain amount of time at the same time each day to sit and write. Good luck!

Phyllis said...

Thank Karilyn.

It is nice to know I'm not alone...not that this situation is nice, but you know, it seems to be a common problem.

I think I have an answer. I will send my muse to warfare school to battle against the evil procrastinator!

Liz Lipperman said...

Phyllis, sorry I'm so late to this party. I was procrastinating!!

Actually, I am the world's worst. I think when I do, I can trace it back to holes in my plot that need fixed. I'm there right now, hoping to plug those up and get back to writing.

Great food for thought, Phylis.

Phyllis said...

Thanks guys for your insights.

Something I thought of overnight is to make a point to write a scene a day, or that is too much for my schedule, perhaps a scene every other day or a week. Since I'm a pantser and sometimes haven't a clue what is next, this could be interesting. But as I'm thinking throughout the day about a scene character or a story situation, I can put that scene down and figure out later if I still need it.

So, the answer is: carve out that time. And I will add, for me, carve out the time, and write a scene.

Ah HA!


Nancy said...

Sorry I'm so late! I can procrastinate like mad, but I learned from another writer to find my productive time and make myself sit and write. For me that time is late at night when the phone has stopped ringing and the world is quiet. I also use the mental trick of knocking on my characters' doors and asking them to come out and play. It's a childhood thing that sharpens my images of my characters and gets me fired up to write.

Find YOUR way and run with it, my dear!

Nancy Haddock