Writers Procrastination versus Distraction versus the Goal

I get accused of procrastinating. I’m an engineer, I have engineered procrastination to levels you can’t even dream of.

Distraction is my biggest enemy. A word flashes up with a red underline in what I’m typing. It’s misspelled and I can’t ignore it. I have to ctrl+alt+w and bring up the in-memory dictionary and fix it right now. I can’t just keep typing, no matter what others have said about writing a junk first draft and keep typing. Go back later and edit, I can’t do it. I’ll worry that I will forget to go back and fix it latter and if someone sees what I’m working on they will think I’m a dunce. It doesn’t matter that a complete document spell check will find the misspell and the the bad word will always be underlined. I have to fix it now. I can’t stop think about the bad word I left behind. It interferes with my thinking about the story, the characters, my writing.

I get up to get a drink of water. The kitchen sink is a mess. Food stains need a shot of cleaner (I’ve found that 409 works better than Fantastic) and a lot of rubbing. A two minute job. Yeah, it ends up taking ten to twenty minutes minimum and cleaning powder and scouring pads.

And don’t get me started on emails. I know that there are emails setting in the inbox screaming at me, begging me to be read. They need to be read, thought about, answered. And I get a hundred emails a day or more. And I just weeded out my email list, but the number of emails keep getting bigger.

Then I need to go to the store to get something I’m out of for lunch. On the way to the store I remember I need to go by another store to get something totally unrelated. And then I remember I need to go by another store and I should stop by somewhere else while I’m out.

I lose sight of the goal. I have a manuscript at an editor. She told me that while she is waiting for the check to clear I could incorporate the comments from the sample edit she did and any other changes I can come up with and send her the better manuscript and she will use that one over the one I had already sent. And here I am writing this blog. I had assumed that once I sent the manuscript in it was locked down and had gone on to working on another book. That’s what I get for assuming things.

The goal is to get the best manuscript to her before the check clears. Knowing Bank of America the check should take a week to clear, but they will clear it in a day since I need the time.

Bottom line; Distractions are Procrastinating by getting things done.

Stay strong, write on, and keep your goal in sight.

Professor Hyram Voltage

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