By Liz, from the bowels of the basement office in Connecticut. Is it spring yet?
I’m a procrastinator by nature. I used to get in trouble with my parents for it all the time when I was kid. I would leave homework, papers, in one case a whole semester of geometry until the last possible minute. But I always prevailed with a good grade. Except maybe in the case of geometry, but I’ve never actually needed that in my adult life anyway.
So, back to procrastination. It never seemed to be a huge problem before. There was sometimes that moment of panic when I realized the task ahead of me was bigger than I originally thought, but once I focused, I got though it.
The reason I’m telling you this is because I hit that moment of panic recently relating to book #3. (Which, on a side note, I’m thrilled to announce has an official name finally – The Icing on the Corpse!) That panic came when I counted down the days until my deadline – May 1 – and the amount of work I had left to do. Including, yeah, the entire climax scene. Which I hadn’t even written the rough draft of yet.
Why, you ask? It’s simple – I procrastinated. I’ve been working on the book since last fall, and while my word count was nearly there, a good portion of the book was not. And I needed to get my butt in the chair, stat.
So I scheduled three nearly uninterrupted vacation days from work tacked up against a weekend and locked myself away. I had tea, I had essential oils, I had Shaggy and Finny (my muses), I had a lot of notepads and I had the Freedom app.
And then I had no choice.
I wrote out a whole new timeline (twice), I deleted a whole bunch of words, I added scenes and edited early chapters and started to see connections and possibilities and the places where I was just rambling to make myself feel like I was in a good place word count wise.
Using my beloved Scrivener, I moved scenes around and dragged all the ones I had no idea if I would use in the final draft into one place where I didn’t have to look at them.
By the end of day three, I felt like I had finally gotten some control back over my world.
Barb Ross recently wrote a great post about the amount of work it takes to get a book written: the plot aspect, the character aspect, the secondary plots, all those relationships, the secrets. After reading about Barb’s process, I made some new lists this time. One was a list of what was revealed when, which was really helpful to see on paper.
I also realized something about my process. It’s definitely not like anyone else’s – and that’s okay. My first drafts rarely have the endings written when I go back to the beginning and start editing. I just need that big picture to make the final scenes work. So I never truly have a complete “first draft” until the third or fourth revision.
Which means I’m just about ready to write the end. I better get back to work. Maybe next time I won’t procrastinate so long – but probably not. Hey, at least it isn’t warm outside yet!
Readers and writers, does anyone else have a procrastination problem to share?