Monday, August 20, 2018

Procrastination or Recharging?

I don’t want to write this blog. In fact, I don’t want to write anything. For that matter, I don’t even want to mark the grocery items on my delivery app so someone in a green t-shirt can restock our larder. Other than attending Mystery in the Midlands, all I’ve been in the mood of doing since we returned from Alaska is playing games on my computer, watching TV, listening to music, and reading.
And reading. 
       And reading.
              And reading.
I can proudly report I’m caught up on my backlog of periodicals and I made a dent in my TBR pile by reading Kitchen Confidential (Anthony Bourdain), Poppy Done to Dead (Charlaine Harris), Someday Someday Maybe (Lauren Graham), Black Fedora, Glitter and Glue (Kelly Corrigan), The Hangman (Louise Penny), Kitty Kitty Bang Bang (Sparkle Abbey), Beach Trip (Cathy Holton), Dead Storage (Mary Feliz) and The President is Missing (Bill Clinton and James Patterson), How to Write Pulp Fiction (James Scott Bell), I Know What You Bid Last Summer (Sherry Harris), The Day I Died (Lori Rader-Day), By Cook or By Crook (Maya Corrigan), Relatively Dead (Sheila Connolly), Classified as Murder (Miranda James), Necessary Ends (Tina Whittle), and Tiny Beautiful Things (Cheryl Strayed).

I should be writing.
Instead, I’ve also been keeping up with most of the blogs I need to pre-review, short stories I am asked to critique for the Guppy Emerald’s group, two books that shall remain nameless that I read for blurbing purposes, and reading and writing Facebook posts.
I should be seated in a chair and writing – not watching TV or playing on my computer.
Does meeting friends for lunch, attending charity events, or posting list serv responses and handling tasks for various volunteer organizations count at least for the “seated” part?
When I was a high school debater, we defined “should” as “ought to but not necessarily will.” That’s me – I should be writing, but I’m not necessarily listening to that voice inside my head.
I should be kicking myself for wasting the past month, but I’m not. You know why? Because I think taking a break (though maybe not this long) recharges one’s batteries. The only problem is knowing when to know I’ve recharged enough and have now slipped into procrastination. I think I reached that point today during a spider solitaire game. I got bored. That’s a sure sign that it is time for me to return to writing.
What about you? What brings you back to the task at hand? Or, are you one of those who only talks about writing?


Annette said...

I need to do a little recharging and plan to do exactly that in two weeks at Bouchercon. I've been writing every single day (see yesterday's post on Book Jail) and will continue to write EVERY SINGLE DAY the remainder of this month. At that point, the first draft should be done and I should have a handle on what needs to be revised.

So, for one solid week in September, I intend to soak up some Florida sun, visit with friends and fans, and recharge.

Love this post, Debra!

Jim Jackson said...

It's called recharging, and those who don't do it burn out and produce crap.

I once had an employee who would not take his vacation time. I threw him out of the office and told him he could not return for ANY reason for two weeks.

He discovered the world did not end, he still had all his clients, the staff working with him did fine in his absence, and that he enjoyed the time off. After that "experiment" he took his vacation without any further threats from me.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

For the past two weeks, I recharged, though it wasn't by choice. We had 29 days to pull weeds and prune bushes before the village slapped a lien on the property. I did plot a lovely short story about the neighborhood yard police while pulling weeds covered in sticky green balls.

Saturday, we received a letter from the village approving our yard maintenance.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

What's funny is that about three days ago, I suddenly felt like writing again. I knocked out a blog or two, responded to questions posed to the Anthony Short Story finalists for an article that is running closer to Bouchercon (though our own Paula Benson will have one here tomorrow), and wrote and sent off a short piece to a publication that is my next "I want to crack their ceiling" goal.

Annette, I am amazed by how well you've locked yourself in bootcamp. I'd be doing the laundry or a million other distractions of my own making. Jim, I agree with you wholeheartedly. That's exactly the point I was at... and I love seeing the results of some of your recharging time in your pictures on Facebook. Margaret --- how overgrown was the property? Was it where you live or elsewhere? Can't wait to read the short story that will grow out of this experience.

Warren Bull said...

Everyone needs a break to be able to return refreshed. What gets me restarted? Looming deadlines.

MaryAnn Corrigan said...

Debra, Thank you for the shout-out. I'm proud to be on the list of authors whose books you've read while recharging. If I didn't procrastinate so much while I'm supposed to be writing with a looming deadline, I'd be able to recharge for a longer time. BTW, I was also a high school debater, which my husband says has scarred me for life. It's hard to break the habit of picking apart arguments. ~Maya

Sherry Harris said...

Thanks for reading I Know What You Bid Last Summer! Deadlines are a powerful motivation. But I agree that you need a break between big writing projects. And reading -- yes! Isn't that why we all write because we love to read?

Grace Topping said...

Good for you taking time to recharge. We don't do it enough. One thing I need to do is clear my desk and get organized. It is hard to be creative when I am surrounded by stacks of papers. My daughter gets married in two weeks. Until then I am going to focus on the wedding preparations ,and afterwards, hit the ground running with my writing. I also need to create a web page, a personal blog, and keep up with my WWK interviews. I'm already tired thinking about it.

Kait said...

Downtime is so important. I try to schedule some time off between writing projects, my favorite way is to lock myself in a room and inhale other people's books. Take it when you need it. There always seems to be a trigger that tells you it's time to get back to work.

KM Rockwood said...

Sounds like you're well on your way to a fresh start, which is what recharging is all about!

Gloria Alden said...

I took a break from writing my tenth book in March and didn't seem to have the desire to keep on with it. Also, even though I don't want to quit Writers Who Kill, it does get to be a burden trying to come up with a new blog for every Thursday. Like you just about all I want to do many days is read, read, read and read some more. I read 97 books last year and I'm close to or at 60 already this year. However, once I got back to working on book ten, I seemed to want to keep at it without taking many breaks so maybe I got recharged, too. It helps having two great critique partners who encourage me.

Linda Rodriguez said...

I'm trudging through the last of along series of deadlines for the past six months. I'm almost finished, but my energy has flagged seriously. I'm trying to push through them, and then I intend to take the whole month of September for serious recharging before i start teaching a class in October. You've been madly busy for quite a while, so you probably needed that downtime.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Thanks everyone for your encouragement. It was nice not to feel guilty doing something I enjoyed. Also nice to know so many of you need and do recharge, too.