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Top 10 Ways to Procrastinate While Writing a Book

posted by Lucy V Morgan


It happens to the best of us. We procrastinate until we're about five days away from deadline, then tot up how many words we still need to write and have ourselves a little mother-of-fudge moment. How has this happened? How did we get here? You had three months to write this book, you workshy plot dodger! You should be ashamed of yourself!


Readers and writers, here are my top 10 favourite most common ways to procrastinate while writing that book I keep banging on about...

1) Think about/mock up the cover

Because having an idea of how your cover might look always helps to get you in the mood for writing, obviously. It's motivation. Usually goes something like this:

7pm: Lucy enters Stockphotolandia
2:38am: lkjlijgljfkjekfjhgpppphhh...sulk...stinging eyes...zzz

2) Make graphics

You know how it goes: write an awesome line. Feel smug, edit a few syllables out. Then edit them back in. And then remember you saved the PERFECT stock photo for THIS particular line. Make graphic. Spend at least twenty six minutes getting the text placement right.

Ten minutes later: sulk because you haven't announced the book release yet, so can't show anyone the graphic. Instant gratification: DENIED.


3) Browse for potential reviewers

There are so many review blogs these days, and you simply must keep track. You'll just scroll through the comments on this GoodReads page to find links to bloggers with relevant preferences for your reviewer list...

4) Troll Amazon for similar books

Because you need to know your market, right? And you don't want to write something too similar. It's important to look for cover trends you can exploit, or see if reviewers are responding well to a similar trope or plot point. This is just market research. It's work!


5) Watch crap on YouTube

You've written like, 984 words in the last hour, so now you can watch Reggae Shark or yodelcore puppets or that hot guy in the German medieval metal band. Yes, these things exist. And they're ALL AT YOUR FINGERTIPS.


6) Make a shopping list

A writer has to be organised and well-nourished. You probably shouldn't have Domino's for the third night in a row. And you wanted to try out that pumpkin marzipan doughnut cinnamon tofu bread thingy from that blog, so you need all those weird (but VERY healthy) ingredients.

7) Budget

Because Starbucks, Netflix and book swag don't grow on trees. But they should. Why has nobody engineered this yet? OMG PLOT BUNNY

8) Record and Expand on Plot Bunnies

If you don't write it all down right now, it may fade away into the ether and you will never taste its sweetness again. Of course it has nothing to do with your current book, but you have to plan ahead, right?

9) Fantasize about Book's Success

Imagine if you got a starred review at Kirkus or PW. Imagine if you sold foreign rights. Imagine if you sold film rights to Tim Burton. Imagine if you sold TV rights to HBO! Imagine if Joss Whedon read your book and Tweeted about it. And what would the soundtrack be like on the film trailer? You should definitely start thinking about that. They might want your input. Or a preferred cast list. You should start following Ansel Elgort on Twitter right now, butter him up a bit for when the role comes along...

10) Go to work

We've all been there: stay up most of the night going through points 1-9. Write the three best paragraphs of your life. Wake up, walk around, do stuff that tastes minty and is a bit cold. There are noises--voices, perhaps?--and whooshy things. You appear to be in this strange place called "work."

Feel free to expand on these--unless, of course, you should be working on that book, you complete SLACKER.


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