23 October 2012

Procrastination Station

Image courtesy of Matt Banks / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I finished the first draft of my WIP back at the end of June. I anticipated a week or two off to let it rest. During those weeks my personal life fell apart and things got off track. Over the past month or so I have wanted to get back to the story. But for some reason, I just couldn't make myself do it. I have been busy with other things in real life, but even once I had a little time, reading blogs or even critiquing others' work seemed more attractive... safer.

It's strange that the activity that gives me the most pleasure is also the one I can be the most reluctant to undertake. How could that be?

Perhaps it was just too daunting to consider all the work I will need to do. I know several structural decisions need to be made and carried out, and there is still a lot of historical research to be done. Then there's all the little details at a sentence and even a word level, with so much to remember as I move through each page. Maybe I worry that I will ruin the novel if I make bad decisions about plot or character. And maybe I'm just lazy and don't want to give my leisure time over to more work.

I eased myself into the process by reading through the spreadsheet I made detailing each scene, chapter and act (with word count, POV and plot for each). I was much relieved to find my excitement rising as I fell in love with the story all over again, even before reading the actual words of the novel itself.

Confidence bolstered, I began to edit chapter one. And that's when I remembered: I love to do this. Once I started, I lost all sense of time and my surroundings. I started to make bold decisions and to cut alternative phrases and re-write paragraphs based on developments I wrote later in the story and recent research. I also spent quite a while trying to decide between two similar words, and in researching some little details - but we must allow ourselves to obsess every now and then, right? At least I am back on the horse.

Have you ever found it hard to get back into a WIP? Why, and how did you get your groove back?


  1. I guess the law of inertia applies to the abstract too. Hard to get going from standing still, hard to stop when in full flow.

    Moody Writing

  2. About 4 years ago, I had all but quit writing. Didn't touch it for nearly a year. Then, I fell and broke my wrist, and tore my thumb ligament. I was to have surgery and be off work about 4 months.

    While recovering, Hubby bought me a new laptop. I started going over a novel that I had written. Slowly it brought me back into the writing circle. Sometimes we just need a break from the writing. We regroup. But we always return... Glad you're back.

  3. Oh yes, all that time! The only way I handle it is by just plunging in again.

  4. Thanks for the comments everyone! It's nice to know it's universal.