Putting Off Procrastination

Some writing days are hard for my brain to engage, which is one of the challenges I frequently face when writing before a deadline. It’s on days like these that I feel like I’m forcing creativity to happen and my mind just doesn’t want to play by the rules.

When topics, good content, and humorous lines don’t gel easily for me, I have difficulty staying put and continuing writing sessions until something begins to surface. I have a tendency to leave my pen and notebook for long periods of time in hopes that by doing so a marvelous column idea will take shape.

I’ve become very good at dodging tough writing work days once I put off  getting back to work. I convince myself  that if I go back and sit down to try again, it will just be the same agony all over. I get very frustrated if I’m forcing a new column idea within a few days. Writing days are much easier on me when I at least have an idea or a topic in mind when it’s time to start  drafting a column.

I have created lots of different diversions for those times when I should be staying put and writing instead. When I procrastinate, I typically do things that are hard for me to do when drafting a column is going smoothly. The following are my most popular diversions:


  • Doing the laundry to completion. Normally I only get as far as the folding and then get tired of laundry duty and don’t finish putting my clothes in the drawers; everyone else’s clothes pile in their room, or the kitchen and bath towels in their places.
  • Putting the clean dishes away instead of making my kids do it.
  • Cleaning out and/or re-organizing a drawer, cabinet, shelves, or pantry.
  • Having a snack and/or organizing the snacks or contents of the refrigerator.
  • Scouring cookbooks for supper ideas, planning a month’s worth of supper menus, or starting supper ahead of time.
  • Checking on the chickens, taking them more water and food scraps and checking for the eggs.
  • Taking a power nap in hopes of dreaming up a great column idea.
  • Deciding to treat myself to some chocolate from my hidden stash because I’m stressed.
  • Spending time digging through my popular hiding places in search of chocolate I thought I had stashed there.
  • Paying bills and walking them to the mailbox.
  • Volunteering to help my husband. I know an hour of help will become a few hours instead and I get hopeful that we’ll run into or discover some problem I can write about.
  • Updating my calendar.
  • Clearing off everything that’s on the fridge door and reorganizing what needs to go back up.
  • Reading a chapter in the current book I’m reading.
  • Hand washing the dishes that can’t go in the dishwasher.
  • Reading through the tons of topics I started to write about and gave up on, the lists of topic ideas I created the last time I was stuck on what to write, or sifting through saved articles by other people that I put in my inspiration file.
  • Reading past or present columns from one or all of my favorite humor columnists.
  • Checking the weather.
  • Deciding to have a snack or more coffee.

I do many of these in combinations and rarely do any of them produce a column topic that day.

This fall I started a new routine to stave off procrastination. I remove myself from all distractions which means leaving my house. Once a week I go to the library in the neighboring county which is a 25 minute drive from my home. Few people know me there and I only take my notebook and pen and a lunch. I find a table in a low traffic area and write until lunchtime when I take a short break. Upon my return, I get back to writing until it’s time for me to head home. Getting away from the distractions at home that lure me away from writing allows me to get more writing time in. The change also puts me in a place with resources.

 My house may not get as much attention but I feel better knowing I’ve gotten something written down on a page.

One response to “Putting Off Procrastination”

  1. micaela Avatar

    Wow…i just read your article for the Daily Republic (where i work) about the difference between “truck” and pickup….Way to go. I’ll help you spread the truth. a pickup is a pickup is a pickup…
    i think it must have something to do with testosterone when guys call their pickup a truck… or maybe we don’t want to go there!

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