There’s no point arguing – you’re going to procrastinate. I know it. Your friends know it. Everyone knows it. Except… maybe you.
It’s okay to procrastinate.
People always have those breakdowns of Writing being half-expiration, half-perspiration, half-pig, but they’re wrong. It’s no amount pig. It’s not even the others. Sure, revision and reading will take up a lot of time, and they do make up a big part of it. Writing itself is only a minuscule portion of writing. Here’s what’s really going on:
Writing is 10% Writing, and 90% Not-Writing. Yes, it’s recursive. Accept that and move on, or the 90% figure will start creeping up.
Something else you need to know: It’s perfectly okay.
The trick is to direct your procrastination (everything that isn’t writing is non-writing, hence procrastination) into things that will help your writing. There’s some basic must-do things that you should give a free pass to. Eating and drinking provide you energy to write, speaking or otherwise acknowledging loved ones helps you write characters as you can relate to people more readily, and going to the toilet reduces the chance of excrement ending up in a draft. It’s reasonable to do these things.
Goofing off on the internet does not help your writing.
Except for when it does. Except for when its research.
It’s hard to know the difference.
Sometimes it’s the mere act of immersing yourself in facts and details that gives you a sense of knowing, because you begin to absorb it all. Even if it takes a while for the facts to stick in your head, that they’re there influences your writing. Knowing the details gives you confidence in writing with authenticity, and that’s needed to be convincing. Maybe you won’t fool the experienced surgeon of forty years into believing your main character is performing surgery, but bludgeoning all those details into your head might get you close enough without retreading the same mistakes as others.
It’s never as good as doing, but not all of us can build experimental rockets or live on untouched mountains. We can’t always travel to the places we intend to write about, but through procrastination, we can fudge it like we did.
This is a sort-of continuation of “It’s Not News To Me“