How Best to Procrastinate

Today, my friend and fellow author, Pat, is going to guest host my blog. Many of you may remember Pat from my “Why do you blog” blog.  I’m guest hosting over at her place today and I have a fun project, so come visit me over there and say hi. Pat’s Blog

You know how to procrastinate. Everyone does. Think how often you sit in front of the television mindlessly switching from channel to channel just because there is too much to do and you don’t want to do any of it. But stuffing your mind with crappy shows while stuffing your mouth with crappy snacks is not the best way to procrastinate. It gains you nothing but excess weight and unnecessary guilt.

This past year, to keep me away from my work in progress — a whimsically ironic apocalyptic fantasy — I have spent a lot of time perfecting the art of procrastination. In fact, this virtual book tour is a good example of how best to procrastinate. It was supposed to be a whirlwind tour — ten blogs in ten days — but the first person who agreed to host chose November 11, the second chose October 18, the third chose November 21. By the time I filled in all the intermediary dates (which gave me plenty of fodder for procrastination — I couldn’t be expected to work on a manuscript when I needed to query book bloggers, could I?) I ended up with a thirty-five day blog tour.

Bad, right? Two blogs every day for over a month (one post for the host’s blog, one for my blog to promote my appearance on the host’s blog) is a lot of work, but it also means thirty-five days of guilt-free procrastination! Just think of all I am accomplishing while I am not rescuing my poor hero (I left him sweltering beneath a tangerine sun). I get to promote my recently released book, Daughter Am I, a young woman/old gangster coming-of-age novel. I get to make new friends. I get to visit new virtual locales. And all to keep from writing. Not bad at all.

There are so many things one can do while procrastinating, but the best way to procrastinate is to do something constructive while not doing what you feel you should be doing. You can take things too far, though. If I ever find myself doing housework instead of writing, I’ll know it’s time to dig out my WIP!

(The first chapters of Pat Bertram’s novels — A Spark of Heavenly, More Deaths Than One, and Daughter Am I — are included in the free Mystery Sampler from Second Wind Publishing, LLC.)


87 Comments on “How Best to Procrastinate”

  1. Pat Bertram says:

    Hi, Claire! I just stopped by to get the URL of your blog so I can link our blogs, and find that I’m already here. I guess this is one time I didn’t procrastinate! (I won’t mention that I sent the article almost at the last minute if you don’t.)

  2. Welcome back to the dark side, Claire. Lots o’ blogging to be done it would appear, and at 3-4 times your usual pace (15-20 times in Canadian dog years).

    Something inappropriate for me but strangely appropriate for you showed up unsolicited in my inbox. I thought I’d shoot it your way.

    Mr. Lion Tamer
    Greetings from NUMA-ville. It’s me, Clive F. Cussler. I see you’ve been busy blogging away and the thought occurs to me to start one of these as well. Perhaps they can teach old salty seadogs some new tricks!

    I’ve often worked long and hard writing myself into various paragraphs of my ghost-written novels and the urge hits me to lean back and let things go for awhile. I hate to put off yet another mimeographed chart-topper, but sometimes you just want to putter around the house, work on your backswing or take the sailboat for a few spins around the magnificently appointed bathtub.

    Now, I have been hearing a lot of criticism lately (I won’t name names, but it rhymes with your name, CLT) about my rubber-stamp approval process and my half-wit son who has been dragged into this business kicking and drooling. I don’t take these accusations lightly. I have a rigorous approval process which requires that the book contain a picture of a ship and that my name be in 128-pt type across the front.

    I also make sure that the summary refers to my “celebrated novellist” status and my general adverurizing. All the other fine authors with which whom I share the monkeys-on-typewriter pool with (Clancy, Patterson, Rowling, etc.) have these processes in place as well.

    We often double-check the quality of each other’s work if for no other reason than to poach paragraphs we like. Why, if Clancy’s workhorses spend a few too many sentences describing a warship interior – yoink! – it goes into the latest Dirk Pitt saga. Likewise, if my boys (hired and stillborn) spend a little too much time dithering about a dead body, Patterson is on the case like a heroin-addled Holmes. If Patterson’s novel millers pound out too many stats on the handgun in question, away it goes to Clancy’s latest techno-thriller with the speed of… something that goes quickly… away… from. If Rowling… well, we still haven’t figured out how to work that in yet, but someday we may be able to grab a choice phrase of two that doesn’t describe broomball or head scars or such other bullshit.

    Anyway, the long and the short of this is this: at the end of the day, we all like to have a chance to crack open a Zima and gaze back over the list of things we should have done. In my case, not mowing the lawn allows me the time to gaze at the calendar and see if I can wait it out until winter. Or have Dirk do it.

    Nautically yours,
    Clive F. Cussler
    Celebrated Novelist

    Ah, it’s always great to hear from him, especially when he seems to be within shouting distance of “sober” and “coherent.”

    Have fun with the virtual promo tour, Claire. I’ll be checking in so keep us posted. Oh, and I’ll kick CFC square in the jimmy and tell him you sent me. He’ll be doubled-over in ecstasy.

  3. duncanr says:

    Hi Claire

    Was going to pop over and visit you at – http://ptbertram.wordpress.com/ but . . . will tomorrow do? Or the day after? 😆

  4. […] have to write. Oh, joy! While Claire Collins is guesting here, I will be at her blog talking about How Best to Procrastinate. When you get a moment, please visit Claire’s Blog and join in the […]

  5. Speaking of procrastination, I’ve been missing again and I do apologize. I also just realized that Halloween is only a week away. I don’t know where the time’s going, but I do know that a couple of bloggers very close to me have been posting halloween items. Go check out the great decorations over at Vicki’s Corner Paint
    http://vickihorton7.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/halloween-style-ideas/

    And then once you’re in the Holiday Spirit ( Ha! Did you catch that? Spirit? Haa, ah, ok moving on) Jump over to Suzette’s blog and enjoy some fun holiday music. She’s doing the 13 days of Halloween:
    http://suzettevaughn.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/monster-mash/
    http://suzettevaughn.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/all-time-epic/
    http://suzettevaughn.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/movies-to-make-you-scream/
    http://suzettevaughn.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/leftovers/
    http://suzettevaughn.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/dark-side-of-rock/
    http://suzettevaughn.wordpress.com/2009/10/24/all-the-way-to-the-grave/

  6. My biggest problem is that I have to do my real work on the internet. I start with a full head of steam and a Tim Robbins type motivation and within 10 minutes I’m either ‘stuck’ on a porn site (there are just so many, of such high quality) or am commenting on a friend’s Facebook status about his latest ‘Espresso Adventure.’ I think I may seriously have ADD or ADHD or Asperger’s or some damn thing.

  7. I thank you for helping me out today, Claire! Why, if you hadn’t posted this link on your Facebook page, where I was doing a quick “check in” just in case anything cataclysmic had happened since I went to bed eight hours ago, I would have been sitting here actually writing. Like, real writing: a guest blog post I’m doing, my outline for National Novel Writing Month, a new blog I’m developing, and the book I’ve finally settled on writing.

    Whew! That was close.😉

  8. spilledinkguy says:

    Wow Ms. C! Looks like with all this sweet, sweet content and my less than stellar ability with “the words” I have found a great new method of procrastination! I might even be able to work my way up to chapter books!🙂

    • Hi SpilledInkGuy, can I call you SIG for short? As talented as you are with the whole drawing thing… I think it’s okay if you stick to picture books. You can claim it’s research and not procrastination. Thanks for coming by!

      • spilledinkguy says:

        WOW – I had no idea you linked to my silly site! I’ll post a link for you on my “Friends of Ink” page either today or tonight when I update!

        PS – I very much like that Freud cartoon – did you catch my Freudian slip a while ago (it involved a banana peel … and Freud).

        Thanks again, Ms. C – I really appreciate it!🙂

        • Robert, You flatter me. I should have done it long ago but I’ve been procrastinating. Thanks for the plug on your page!

          PLEASE post the link to the Freudian slip???

          • spilledinkguy says:

            Not at all! Thank you!

            I think old Sigmund fell out of my ‘high-tech’ archives already, but I’d be happy to send send you a copy if you’d like!
            🙂

          • spilledinkguy says:

            Not at all! Thank you!

            I think old Sigmund fell out of my ‘high-tech’ archives already, but I’d be happy to send you a copy if you’d like!
            🙂

  9. I am not a procrastinator. I have thought of writing a book on how not to procrastinate, but I haven’t gotten around to doing it.

  10. Sia McKye says:

    Been doing a bit of procrastination myself. Especailly happens when I have too much to do and not enough thinking power to get it done. I play mindless games and then I’m ready to knock out several projects at once. Got to get them done or I’ll never get back to the 3 WIPs, the short story, and a new book idea I want to write. Blech.

    Best of luck with Daughter Am I.

    • I do that sometimes too Sia. When I get overwhelmed, I either watch tv or play an online game. Anything to clear my mind so I can regroup and attack what needs to be done.

    • Pat Bertram says:

      Thanks, Sia. Oddly enough, I hadn’t played games for months, but now that I’m in the midst of this blog tour that takes up so much of my computer time . . . I play games. I wait until it’s time to go to bed, and then all at once my mind gets into gear, and so I stay up half the night. Perhaps I’m like a kid — I’ll do anything to keep from having to go to sleep!

  11. George says:

    It’s hard trying to overcome procrastination. I’m certainly guilty of it myself. The only I can beat it is to tell myself if I set up everything I need to work, I can quit. Once I’ve got stuff set up, I say, let me just sketch the first panel, I don’t have to do anything else.

    I keep taking my overwhelming project in incremental steps, and the next thing I know, it’s all done! When you have a WIP that seems to difficult to complete, just break it down into stages. You’ll find it a lot easier to keep going. Eventually, it’ll be done, and you’ll be the proud parent of a finished result!🙂

    • Wow George, Look at you giving all of this great advice😉.

      And anyone who can produce an outstanding work of art as well as a witty storyline 7 days a week without fail, AND with many of the works being multi-panelened… well, I would certainly take his advice on beating procrastination. Did you get a chance to jump over to Pat’s blog and make a missions statement?

    • Pat Bertram says:

      George, I always tell people it’s all about writing one word and then another. But do I take my advice? Nooooooo.

  12. NobblySan says:

    Procrastinate? Me?

    Ohhh… I don’t really know…

  13. frigginloon says:

    Considering I work from home, procrastinating only involves cleaning my office. Organized chaos however is a lifestyle choice I say. I don’t even procrastinate doing exercise, bloggers ass can be a nasty thing!

  14. I hate to spoil the flow, but I intend to overcome apathy, the close relation of procrastination, and start on my winter creative writing project, later today…

    • How’s that working for you, Dave?

      • I took over 3 months off from, allegedly, sensible writing and immersed myself in blogoland. Met very many good folk, (and a couple of turds), but have used the time to rationalise, [the constructive version of procrastination], my excessive pile of partial ideas into 2 runners. Will keep you all advised, but FFS don’t hold your breath!

  15. Procrastination is a fancy word for, “I don’t want to do this.” I don’t imagine your (male) readers do much procastination when it comes to SEX.

  16. Claire certainly knows how to procrastinate. 3 weeks between blog posts and she has to have a ghost writer do it.

  17. artambrosia says:

    I know exactly what you mean. I always have to do a little routine of things before I can get down to my real work. But, they all seem constructive anyway.

    • Hi Artambrosia! Procrastination time is over! NaNoWriMo starts up in just a couple of days and I saw that you’re gearing up for it. You’re already ten steps ahead of me!

    • Pat Bertram says:

      Procrastination is not a bad thing. I accomplish a lot while I’m trying not to do something. Not only does the accomplishment give you a guilt-free procrastination, it helps you forget what you’re procrasting from.

  18. […] check out “How Best To Procrastinate” on Claire Collins’s blog. It was actually yesterday’s tour stop, but I kept finding other […]

  19. Mmm… l guess I should take all this to heart. You’ll notice, Pat, that I’m here, was recently also at Joy’s and Dave’s blogs, so am obviously procrastinating myself.😀

  20. I’m a champion procrastinator, I can procrastinate from housework and writing at the same time.

  21. Lynn says:

    i was going to leave a comment but …naw….

  22. […] check out “How Best To Procrastinate” on Claire Collins’s blog. It was actually yesterday’s tour stop, but I kept finding other […]

  23. […] check out “How Best To Procrastinate” on Claire Collins’s blog. It was actually yesterday’s tour stop, but I kept finding other […]

  24. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by patbertram: How Best to Procrastinate http://wp.me/pjUPA-3L

  25. Vicki says:

    After reading all the comments I’m really pleased to know I’m not alone. I too go to the computer to do real work and then begin with emails, Face Book etc! Now I’m stuck in a stupid virtual world called Farmville on Face Book! Ya, like I have that kind of time! I’m terrible!

  26. alantru says:

    I’ve never procrastinated once in my entire life. I sometimes worry that I’ll regret this later in life… Wait a sec, procrastinate means “To beget and conceive offspring.” Right?

  27. Donald Mills says:

    Sorry my comment is so damned late. I’d been meaning to get by earlier but when you add procrastination to old bones and a failing memory….it gets rough. Hope it’s not too late to visit you at the other blog.

  28. frigginloon says:

    Well, thank you Claire for the lesson on procrastination…it is now November and not a post in sight🙂


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