I know a lot of writers who whine about being procrastinators. They put writing off, find it hard to get started or just plain don’t ever start on the next project because, “they aren’t feeling it”. My friend Kal asked me just yesterday if I thought he was truly a writer because he tended to put his writing off for so long. (Kal is a deadline guy…give him time on a project and he will wait until the last moment every single time) I asked him if he was procrastinating or if he just didn’t understand his groove and he looked at me, head sideways and made the Scooby Doo sound…(Wrut?)
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We writers are creatures of the groove. What’s “the groove”? The groove is the result of a set of things that allow you as a writer to do your thing in the correct fashion. For instance, one of my non-writer friends recently asked me if I write all the time. I don’t write all the time because I don’t “feel it” all the time. I have to be in the groove….you writers understand what I mean.
“in the groove”
So what then does a writer do to ensure that he/she is experiencing a “in the groove” issue and not just procrastinating? You have to know your writer self. First off you have to understand when you peak writing time is. I know that a lot of new agey folks talk about biorhythms and such but I happen to think that there is something to it. I know that personally, I have some times of the day when I can sit down and churn it out and other times I just fizzle. I think there is a natural rhythm to things…find your rhythm.
Second, how’s your focus? We live in the age of instant everything and it is easy to lose focus. My oldest son is very fond of the little dog on the movie “Up” because of the scene where he is talking but when a squirrel comes into his view he instantly loses focus. That is many of us. You have to focus on the work in order to get it done.
Finally, do you have a plan? As many of you know, I am not a fan of outlines and such but I do make lists. I have to, I am creating a whole new world, community, actual people…I have to have some kind of plan or I lose sight of the story and I suddenly don’t want to move forward…it’s too overwhelming. You have to have some kind of plan even if it isn’t detailed.
If you are finding yourself reading through this column and tilting your head sideways like Kal did, you may not be a procrastinator…you may just be missing the groove train. So take a few minutes and ask yourself these questions. If you discover that you really don’t know when your peak times is, aren’t focused or don’t have a plan, maybe procrastination isn’t your issue….