If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

July Interviews

7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets

Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Procrastination - A Problem of Mine

Procrastinate: defer actions; delay, esp. intentionally or habitually. Oxford English Dictionary

For years I’ve written a weekly list of things to do on a yellow legal pad. One of my sisters said she got tired just reading my list. What she didn’t realize is most of the list moves on to the next week’s list because I never finish everything. Some things I don’t list like make my bed, do dishes, and feed and water my critters, because that’s what I do every day. Other things I list more as a reminder than anything else, and even with the list to remind me, I procrastinate.

Right now I’m putting off paying the bills I write checks for and aren’t automatically paid.
They’re not late, but I should do it as soon as my monthly check is deposited. After I finish this blog, I’m going to do it. Yes, I am. Last week I finally got around to balancing my check book after not doing it for four or five months and found purchases I hadn’t registered because of a line behind me waiting to check out. I planned to write the purchase down when I got home, but I’m easily distracted. Fortunately, there were only two, and my bank takes it out of my savings account rather than bouncing checks or debit purchases.

Other things on my list of things that I’ve been putting off: Clean the rust stains in my bathtub that’s as old or older than I am, and that’s really old. I think the old guy who owned it for fifty years before me used  S.O.S. pads to clean it. Maybe nothing will remove the stains, but  I still put that on my weekly list. Finish planting the small shrubs I bought last spring as well as a Japanese maple on sale. Finish weeding the vegetable garden so I can plant beans, and other vegetables. Do you think it’s too late for that now? I did get peas, lettuce, eggplant and peppers planted. I blame it on the excessive rain we’ve had. Start entering the sales and expenses in my writing accounts. Clean the chicken coop, and the list goes on and on.

It sounds like I do little but lay around reading or watching TV doesn’t it? Not true. The thing about lists is the feeling of accomplishment I get from crossing off what I’ve finished. Write a blog for next week. Clean the bird cages. Clean the litter boxes. Sweep and dust the living room, etc. or call so and so. (I really put off calling people.)Water the plants. Mow the front yard, the side yard, and all the other sections I mow and not with a riding mower. Wash the outside windows – not done yet, but I can still see out.

In an article in WebMD by Paula Spencer Scott titled When Procrastination is a Problem, and How to Fix It, she writes “Everyone delays or puts things off sometimes, and that’s fine,” Procrastinating becomes a problem only when it hinders your relationships or getting your work done. The things people put off tend to be boring, hard, time-consuming, or maybe lack meaning. When you avoid doing what seems less than pleasant (cleaning the chicken coop?), you get a reprieve. You’ll do it soon, just not now.

Scott contacted two leading experts on procrastination, Joseph Ferrari, PHD, associate professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago and Timothy Pychyl, Ph. Associate professor of psychology at Carlton University in Ottawa, Canada. They answered immediately.

1.      Twenty percent of people say they’re chronic procrastinators. They’re late paying bills, miss opportunities for buying tickets, late filing income tax returns, and leave Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve, for instance. (I may put off bills, but I always pay on time. I get my taxes in at the last minute but not late. I never wait until Christmas Eve to shop. ( Close to it but not that late. Too many on my list for that.)

2.      It’s not trivial, but  most don’t take it seriously. It’s a problem of self-regulation, and may be more common in the U.S. because we’re so nice we don’t call people on their excuses. (One thing I don’t do is skip appointments, come late, or not follow through on a commitment.)

3.      Procrastination is not always a problem of time management or planning. They suggest using weekly planners. (I write appointments or events and times on my calendar.)

4.      Procrastinators are made not born. (Okay, a lot of stuff about rebelling against harsh authoritarian fathers, which certainly wasn’t true for me. My parents were great.)

5.      Procrastination predicts higher levels of consumption of alcohol among people who drink. (I don’t think my half glass of wine once a month at one of my book clubs applies here.)

6.      Procrastinators tell lies to themselves. “I’ll feel more like doing this tomorrow” or “I work best under pressure.” In fact those excuses aren’t true. (This may be true if it’s miserably hot and tomorrow may be cooler to mow.)

7.      Procrastinators look for distractions, especially ones that take little commitment like checking e-mails. They distract themselves as a way of regulating their emotions such as fear of failure. (Or it could be I just don’t feel like cleaning the litter boxes right now.)

8.      People procrastinate for different reasons. Dr. Ferrari identifies three basic types of procrastinators: Arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush. Avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case, are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability. Decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinator of responsibility for the outcome of events. (I don’t see myself as any one of those types.)

9.      There are costs to procrastination. Health is one. (Today I really am going to start an exercise program. As soon as I write this blog, I will.) Procrastinators have more insomnia problems. (Now that I can believe. I worry about how I’ll find the time to get everything done that needs done.) The other reasons had to do with resentment in the workplace which isn’t and has never been a problem for me, not even when I was teaching.

10.  Procrastinators can change their behavior – but doing so consumes a lot of psychic energy, and it doesn’t necessarily mean one feels transformed internally. (I need my psychic energy.)

And then there are the writers who procrastinate for various reasons like they can’t think how to start their story with a hook that will grab the reader. Then there’s the sagging middle, or they don’t know where the story is heading. Or like me right now, I can’t figure out how to expose my murderer.  So they put it aside and concentrate on other things hoping inspiration will come from somewhere.

Reading this made me realize my procrastination is due mostly to a list of too many things to do. It’s so long one person could never complete it. In the article it said procrastinators tend to be optimistic. That was me when I bought all those plants I still have to find time to plant – after I weed a place for them to go. So I need to prioritize what must be done – animal care, necessary cleaning, and writing this weekly blog, for instance. Then what should be done – mowing the lawn, weeding the gardens, the blueberry patch, and planting, which I actually enjoy doing most of the time. And finally what’s enjoyable - writing, reading, listening to music, walking in the woods, and the social activities like my writers group meetings, book clubs, family events, delivering Mobile Meals, and Sunday Mass. Meanwhile, eventually I’ll get to cleaning out my closet or storage room, washing the outside windows and maybe even clean the potting shed, but I’m not going to worry about it. If it gets done that’s good, and if it doesn’t? Oh well, who cares.

Are you a procrastinator?
What do you put off doing the most?


Jim Jackson said...

Gloria – I don’t think you are a procrastinator, I think your optimistic attitude causes you to overcommit. I have a similar problem that I find toooooo many things in life that are interesting and I want to be do them all, which is impossible.

So, I learn to prioritize and eventually admit that something that was on my list had and has no priority and eventually cross it off – always with a bit of regret and a sense of relief.

~ Jim

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

House and yard chores will get done when you're mulling over a piece of dialogue or a character's motives. Animal chores should take priority. I have three days left to finish staining the deck during which what will probably be the only clear, dry days this summer. It's not procrastination, it's reality. You should have seen the line at the paint store!

Shari Randall said...

Gloria, You get more done that most people I know! I think there is just so much to do - and I do want to avoid the stuff that's not fun - housework, housework, and did I mention housework?

Warren Bull said...

Gloria, I meant to respond to your blog earlier. Really I did but stuff kept showing up that I needed to do so...What was the question again?

Warren Bull said...

Gloria, I meant to respond to your blog earlier. Really I did but stuff kept showing up that I needed to do so...What was the question again?

KM Rockwood said...

I was planning to join the local Procrastinator's Club, but I never got around to it.

They haven't scheduled a meeting yet anyhow.

Denise Rodgers said...

Gloria, Thanks for a fun article. I also have a running list, a daily one. Whatever doesn't get done gets transferred over to the next day. Sometimes I do things on my list because I'm so tired of writing it down again (and again and again). I also put off phone calls. (Does this make us introverts; I HATE phone calls. They often turn into hour-long visits.) I also get a thrill from marking things off my list. My worst procrastinations are reorganizing my basement boxes (from last year's flood) and spare bedroom stuff (from emptying my mom's apartment). They've been waiting for action since last August and November, respectively. I will get to them. Eventually. In the mean time, I have to get back to work.

Kait said...

What a great blog. I too am a listmaker. And most of my lists are applicable right into the future too! Still, I get a great feeling of accomplishment when I cross something off. Reading your list makes me think you get more done than most people. Well done!

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, I think you're right about wanting to be and to do everything.

Margaret, like you I often think about what my characters will do. also, we've had an incredibly wet spring and summer so far. It's quite depressing with so much that needs done outside.

Warren, even though I'm reading this a week later after getting home from a week of camping, it made me smile. :-)

KM, I'd join the club, too, if anyone got around to starting one.

Denise, I hear you on phone calls. If it's a business, you're often put on hold, if it's a friend or family member there's a long period of conversation. Someday, I really am going to sort out the stuff in my garage. Maybe tomorrow after I unpack from my camping trip, put the tent up to dry out and catch up on a gazillion emails.

Kait, that's why I make my lists - double columns on a long legal pad. What doesn't get down today will still be there for a week or more.

Kara Cerise said...

Procrastination by productivity is my motto. When I want to delay a decision or put off a rotten chore, I do easy and sometimes fun tasks to feel like I'm making progress.

By the way, I'm late commenting on your blog because I was out of town. I wasn't procrastinating. Really.