Procrastination. It’s a writer’s worst enemy, and I doubt there’s a one of us who doesn’t succumb to it now and then, if not on a daily basis. Yesterday was writing day, and I found myself doing all my usual procrastination self talk:

I’ll just get a cup of tea.

I’ll just check Facebook.

Oh! A message! Must reply to this message, then I’ll get to work.

Now I’ve lost my train of thought…better go put some laundry on while I collect myself.

Oops, there’s already a pile of dry stuff in the dryer – I should at least take it—

STOP! Just stop it right there and get back to WORK!

Back to the computer I go. And there’s an email from a client – I better answer that before I—


And so it goes. I got so mad at myself that I went to my author page on Facebook to put up a quote about writers who procrastinate. That takes a bit of research, so I had a look at some quote sites, started reading – rookie mistake – and another half an hour went by before I realised I was doing it again. Dammit! Close the quote site. Close Facebook. Close the browser entirely. Open Scrivener and stare at that blank screen again.

. . .

Yeah. Now I can’t concentrate.

The procrastination thing was bugging me, but not the urge to procrastinate, the urge to write about procrastination. I suddenly wanted to write something all writers could relate to, about how badly we procrastinate, and the sorts of crazy things we do to avoid actually sitting down and writing…but writing it would be procrastinating again, right? Right. So what did I do? I decided to write a note to myself, reminding myself to write this very blog post. That way, my head would be clear to focus on the writing I was supposed to be doing. I looked about for a piece of paper – my desk is covered with them – but I couldn’t find the right piece of paper. A Post-it was too small, the back of a discarded print-out was too likely to get lost or thrown away, one of my idea notebooks was too permanent (I hate tearing pages out, and I hate having notes about completed projects or tasks sitting around in books – yeah, I know).

What the hell? I was doing it again! Over a piece of paper! Gah! I grabbed a piece of lined paper and scribbled down three lines. Ahhh. Now I was ready to get back to my novel. Wasn’t I? Actually, this time I was. I wrote over 4000 words yesterday. Go me!

But later on I got to thinking about this whole procrastination business, and I realised something: Procrastination – when done the right way – is actually a very useful tool for a writer. And how do you procrastinate in the right way? I’m glad you asked. There are two ways I know of: