As any writer knows, procrastination is an important part of the writing life, whether you’re avoiding it or looking for a good way to engage in it. My writing partner and I have been discussing (a good procrastination tool in itself) various methods of constructive procrastination and I’m here to share a few with you.
a) Write a blog post. You need to keep yourself in the public eye in case you ever publish anything again (an event made less likely by excessive procrastination). This method has the added benefit of involving writing and so might be considered working. Then, there are the adjunct forms of this like Twitter and Facebook which are less likely to be considered writing.
b) Work on your website. See above. You need to keep your public face current. If your website is out of date, what does that say about you? Either it says that you’ve slipped away from life online or that you’re busy writing. Maybe both, but you don’t want to give the wrong impression.
c) Work on someone else’s website. This is sort of professional procrastination, as one of the ways I keep body and soul together is by creating websites for fun and profit. I have two I’m working on at the moment and, admittedly, the most fun was a blog for my writing partner, Jane Cushing. Alas, it’s done for now, so I’ve had to revert to procrastination method a).
d) Do research. This is a great procrastination method as it’s closely related to writing. If you’re going to make it truly constructive, I recommend using a library (either your own or a public library) rather than the internet, which can devolve into mindless web-surfing. A great procrastination method, to be sure, but increasingly less constructive as your surfing goes afield.
e) Feed the cats. As you might know, I have two geriatric cats and the feline Methuselah. They must be fed and Ishmael, the 21-year-old, must be fed frequently. Or so he tells me.
f) Clean the litter boxes (a natural consequence of e) and something that must be seen to with great regularity if you are working at home. Not particularly time-consuming, but put it on the list if you’ve got cats. Alternatively, if you have a dog, frequent walks are in order.
g) Household tasks. These are the very pit of constructive procrastination. They always need to be done, but the fact that you’re considering them probably means that either you’re expecting company, you’re out of clean underwear, or your manuscript is in trouble.
I could probably come up with many more and would if I didn’t think I should get back to my manuscript. Additions to the list will be gratefully accepted.