Saturday, September 27, 2008

The True Art of Procrastination

Right now, as we speak (read actually), I'm smack dab in the middle of editing my first middle grade novel. The book is called "How to Ruin Your Life and Other Lessons from the Fourth Grade" and is scheduled to come out in early spring 2009. The first book I wrote was a children's picture book and honestly (thankfully) there weren't that many revisions to make. I think I had to change a few facts that related to the story, but that was about it. So as you can imagine, I was under the false impression that I was an amazing revisions, barely any corrections-I'm awesome! Then I get an email from my editor, it was four pages long and only two lines of that email consisted of good-natured chitchat. The rest of the letter was a list of all the things I had done wrong, and let me tell you, apparently I did a lot wrong!

So for the past week or so, I've been making my way through the book, trying to change the things that need changing, all without losing the original voice of the character. But as with most things, I'm beginning to run out of steam. Suddenly the task of rewriting my book has become the most unpleasant of jobs. My current list of dreaded jobs is as follows:

1. Clean the house
2. Help my grandmother shave her leg hair (unfortunately true)
3. Wash my nine-year-old son's underwear (no need to go into details here)
4. Change my 9 month-old's diaper (again, no need for details)
5. Clean the toilet (I have two boys in the house, no need to say more)
6. Edit my book

As a result, I've been finding it very hard to get down to work. Every morning I find myself searching for reasons not to get the revisions done. And the saddest part is that the work has to be completed and turned in by this Monday...crippity crappity! Yet despite this, I'm still completely unmotivated to do it. Yesterday, for example, I pretty much wasted the entire day doing menial tasks around the house. Tasks that really didn't need to be done.

6 AM Got up and fed the kids (four in total, though at times I could swear there is more)

7AM Made my son's lunch and made him change out of his pants with the torn knees. Made him change out of his jogging pants with the torn knees. Did some sewing.

8AM Brushed my five-year-old's hair to the sound of her appreciative screams.

9AM Went into my office and sat down at my computer. Time to write.

9:30AM Saw a bird outside the window and it reminded me to fill the bird feeder.

10:00AM While I was outside I noticed the front walkway to the house needed to be swept. I swept it.

10:15 AM Returned to my office.

10:16AM Went upstairs to make a cup of tea. While I waited for the kettle to boil, I found an old magazine I hadn't read yet. Sat and read it.

11:00AM Returned to my office. Changed the colour of my computer's background to purple. Looked through the screensavers and then decided to keep the one I had.

11:21AM Watched a cat across the street clean his unmentionables.

11:30AM Lunch.

1:00PM Returned to my office. Took my pulse. 72 beats per minute. Took it again while I held my breath. No change.

1:13PM Tried to type out all the words from Seal's "Crazy" Couldn't do it.

1:25PM Went back upstairs to search the house for some candy. No luck.

1:45PM Returned to my office. Noticed dust on the top of my desk. Took off my sock and wiped it off.

1:52PM Realize my kids would be home from school soon. Decided I had better get serious.

1:55PM Went upstairs and grabbed a sweater. Noticed a few smears on the living room window. Grabbed some cleaner and cleaned the window. Decided I might as well do all the windows.

2:21PM Returned to my office and checked my email. Answered a few and then searched the Web for "Tips on Staying Motivated." Read a few. Felt inspired. Determined to get my work done.

2:42PM My kids came home. Time to wrap things up.

Another productive day of writing. Hopefully today will be better and more fruitful...which reminds me, I need to buy fruit....


Jess said...

Thank you for your post! I really enjoyed reading it and recognized a lot of it!

Jillian Cantor said...

Funny post, Carolyn! I have definitely had days like this. Good luck with your revisions. Oh, and if you really want to procrastinate you should join Facebook!

Tracy Madison said...

I think this is catching. I've been fighting the same "bug" all week. Here's to both of us getting over it!

Carolyn McTighe said...

I agree...I hate these kinds of days, but must admit they are becoming the norm lately. Phooey!

Maureen Lipinski said...

Another one here that feels your pain!

Except I'm still working full-time so condense all of that into like three hours. And then, it's like, "Oh! The Office is on! Must watch THEN revise..."

And you know how that story ends!

Carolyn McTighe said...

Sadly I do know what you're talking about. I have such a hard time staying on task sometimes.