It Isn’t Procrastination. Really

So much for the plan to edit at least two chapters a day. That intention triggered a several-days long period of no editing at all. Or maybe it wasn’t a trigger, just as matter of coincidence. At least I have a believable excuse, thanks to Ruth Harris. It isn’t often that attempts to classify people work out very well, for instance: pantsers vs. planners. It just isn’t that simple. But her little list of three types of writers defined by their working speed and habits hit my ‘yes’ bump.

The post: Speed Kills, or Does it? is subtitled How to Write Fast(er) without Going Bonkers. It’s a far cry, thank goodness, from those assurances that if writer Speedy can churn through 5,000 words a day and produce a complete, edited novel in six weeks, then you can do it. And should. Because Harris says that you need to know your own working style, whether it’s steady, spurt, or sprint. You’ll have to read the post for her explanations of steady and sprint, but spurt hits me right where I live. “Spurt workers tend to write in extremely productive bursts. They also need a few days off to regroup and catch up with themselves between intense writing sessions.”

Yes, yes, yes. It’s nice to have a name for it rather than berate myself for quitting just when I seem to be getting ahead. It’s another of those areas where I blame myself for personal characteristics that are built in. The idea isn’t to use that as an excuse, but to understand it and allow myself room to write in the way that suits me best. And of course, that includes editing, formatting, and even designing book covers. Editing can be very satisfying when it’s going well, but it takes such intense concentration that it burns out the brain synapses in a way that the actual writing usually doesn’t.

I can wish my style was ‘steady’ but every time I’ve tried to set up a reasonable schedule, whether for writing or editing, I’ve totally failed. My brain just doesn’t work that way. In fact, it isn’t steady at anything. I suspect that it stems from my need for constant variety in most areas of my life, and a brain that seizes on one thing at a time and exhausts it in a big blaze. Steady is boring, says my brain, and I’ve learned that there’s no point in trying to argue with it.

Today, I’m back at work editing Expendable. Two are finished. I should be able to get one or two more done by the end of the day. I’d like to continue that pattern for the next four days, and get to ProWritingAid¬† Tuesday or Wednesday. But it probably won’t happen. Or maybe it will. But I’m not procrastinating. Really.

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7 thoughts on “It Isn’t Procrastination. Really

  1. I think I’m a Steady! A little at a time, then revise, then a little more. I’m signed up for WP even though I never set up a blog, and I have a way for commenting that seems to work on everybody else’s blog. After I post on yours, it does come up with “Waiting for moderation.”

    1. I think steady people probably do better, on the whole.

      Once I approve a comment, that won’t show again. I’m sorry you had to go through the hassle of signing up for WP, but I suspected that’s probably what it would take. Thanks for taking the trouble. I never did get any reply to my forum question about why your comments didn’t show up.

  2. Good days I get a bit of time with a functional brain AND don’t get interrupted. Those days I make a bit of progress.

    Bad days NOTHING happens.

    There are far more bad than good lately, but it doesn’t matter – it’s forward.

    I call this ‘snail’ – those other three sound nice.

    Mine works for me, is all I can do, takes all I have, and produces results. Eventually.

    NOTE: this isn’t whining – it just is. I can write this way or not write. I like writing. I LOVE writing.

    1. Better “snail” than nothing. I can’t remember where I read or heard it (I can almost hear a voice in my head), “When you can’t walk, you crawl.” If it’s something you love, and I also love writing, you do what you can when you can, as long as you can.

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