Top 4 Reasons Why We Think We Procrastinate (and the 3 Reasons Why We Really Do)

As I’ve been working on stuff this past week, I’ve discovered myself spending way too much time doing other things that are much less important than what I’d been planning to do.

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This is odd for me. I am not a procrastinator by nature. As a matter-of-fact, I surprised more than one professor by turning in term papers weeks early. So, why am I procrastinating now?

As part of my procrastination, I decided to investigate and share with you.

 

4 Reasons I’ve Heard for Why I Procrastinate

1. Overconfidence – Maybe for some people. Possibly. But I’m not confident in my ability to turn this garbage first draft into a passable second draft. I’m not oblivious to this fact, as here I am, admitting it to you! Do I think I can do it? With enough work, yes. So why am I procrastinating rather than putting in the work?

2. Lazy – Lazy is not an adjective I’ve ever applied to myself. I work full time, am a mother, wife, blogger, writer etc. So no, not lazy.

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3. Not Believing the Task is Important – This definitely doesn’t apply. I can’t share a crap story. Okay, maybe I can, I’ve read enough of them, but I think a good story is very important. I want the reader to feel like the build-up, love the character, and have a sufficiently epic ending. I want a mental fist pump at the end. I want my reader to have that happy grin when you’ve come to the end of a particularly good romance novel.

4. Not Knowing Where to Begin – Well, maybe this is the case. I’m a Panster when I write, so I don’t have the whole thing plotted out, but the first daft is already written, even if it’s very rough. So, begin at the beginning.

 

 

3 Reasons Science Says is Why I Procrastinate

You can take a look here and here if you’d like, but the gist of the articles is:

1. Avoidance Behavior – If you dread the task ahead of you, you may avoid doing it in the short-term. You know, procrastinate. This can cause a vicious cycle, but it does play into #3 below in that it gives a temporary feel-good emotion while you’re doing something other than what you dread.

2. Lack of Motivation – People are known to procrastinate when there’s very little motivation to do a hard task.  Now, we’re getting closer. Even if I complete this revision, there will be more to come. I need alpha reader input and eventually beta reader input. So, yeah, motivation might be a little bit lacking. Yes, I want to finish the book. Yes, it’s important to me, but the real issue is when you combine this with the next point.

3. Present Emotions vs Future Emotions – There’s a very real emotional punch you get when you accomplish something. While revising the book will be accomplishing something, any benefits are in the far distant future. Watching a funny cat video? Instant laugh.

 

How about you? Do you procrastinate? What do you procrastinate doing? What’s your fix for it?

Brain Went on Summer Vacation

A week before vacation, my brain and body decided they were already there. I struggled to motivate myself on my WIP, and my exercising regime became sporadic.

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I enjoyed the week I was off of work, but it’s now a full week after returning from vacation, and I’m still not back in my groove.

Perhaps it’s the summer doldrums. Our months-with-snow are usually longer than our months-without-snow. My daytime gig as a desk jockey is usually quieter in the summer months before we gear up for budgeting. Right after budgeting, we face a new fiscal year, and things get even more hectic.

So, yeah, summer is a good time to relax, take a deep breath, and get ready to face the challenges.

So, after three weeks, why am I not facing those challenges?

Maybe I’ve hit a snag with my current WIP.

The piece I’ve been working on for over a year is at the point that I actually have to send my baby out into the world and face the cruel rejections coming. I truly dread this.

Maybe I’ve been pushing hard for a while and I need a break. A longer break. Burn out is very real.

Maybe I don’t really know what motivates me, so I struggle to stay motivated.

I’ve adjusted my word count requirements to reasonable levels, but there’s more to it. I just don’t know what that more is.

As far as exercising goes, I suppose this is the epic uphill battle you face when you hate exercising. When it’s always a chore rather than something you look forward to doing. Not sure how to fix that, either.

Time to do some thinking. To analyze what’s going through my brain and why my motivation has evaporated into procrastination. Science may help with this, or it may just be I have to figure things out for myself.

Maybe inspiration will come and get me.

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What do you do to rekindle motivation, especially if it’s something you know you need to do rather than want to do? Any tips or tricks you use to escape the procrastination beast?

 

I Clearly Misplaced It

Looking for my motivation. Yes, I’ve clearly misplaced it, but I’m not sure where.

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That’s not entirely true.

We’ve had a run of nasty sicknesses in my house. From ear infections, to stomach flu, to five-day fevers, we haven’t had more than a couple weeks all year where someone in the house isn’t sick. Work has also been really busy, and my lunch hour has been usurped so that I can still make it home in time for the kids. We snuck in a mini-vacation as well.

Yet, that’s only part of it. I was super busy going into the new year, but I still found time to write. Even as we faced the holidays, which are my peak time at work, and potential unemployment and loss of benefits, I still made time to write.

But that isn’t happening now.

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You and me both!

I examined my work-in-progress. Perhaps the story is weak or the characters are flat, but I don’t think that’s it. The hero has been teasing around in my thoughts for a couple of years. The heroine is newer, but I feel like she’s well flushed out. I really get her personality, her background, and her desires. The plot dancing around the romance isn’t as robust as it could be. I’ve spent some time thinking it through, and I’m closer to having all of it nailed down without pigeon-holing my characters.

Remember, the moment I write an outline, the story is dead. But I do know where it’s going. Mostly.

Yet, I still haven’t been applying bottom to chair and making the first draft words happen. Why is that?

Honestly, I’m not sure.

I did recently get a new laptop so I don’t have to be cut-off from the family while writing. Perhaps that’s my issue. I’m less inclined to isolate myself to put words on the page. Apparently, being around other humans, even small ones, steals away my ability to write.

Maybe it’s something else. Something a little deeper.

After two years and three novels, I still have nothing published. Nothing ready to publish. My plan had been to finish the book I’m currently working on and then go back and make the final(?) round of revisions to Crowned Prince before trying to get an agent for it.

Perhaps I should contemplate working on a revision for either of the other two novels I have completed instead. I just don’t want to forget how to write fresh words. It’s a skill, like any other, and must be practiced. And it’s easy for me to get sucked into editing, letting the more analytical side of me take over.

Maybe it’s something else entirely.

Not the doubt demon, not exactly, but sometimes I feel like I’m spinning my wheels.

Demon
I haven’t forgotten you.

I’ve devoted a lot of time to writing for the past two years. I even worked on Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. At the end of that time, I have some pixels on a screen, but little else. No agent. No book deal. Not even a manuscript that’s truly ready for an agent.

I’ve worked hard at it, and it feels like I’ve accomplished nothing.

I know me. I know making things happen motivates me. To have spent so much time on something and feel like I have nothing to show for it makes me rethink how I’m spending my time. Makes me question if I should be spending time on this.

I have to remind myself I haven’t really failed yet. I’ve barely tried. A handful of query letters a year ago barely counts as a full effort. And yet…giveup

 

Have you ever found yourself lacking motivation? What did you do to get your motivation back? Did it work?

Book Review: Crux

Title: Crux

Author: Moira Rogers

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a book review. Mostly because I haven’t been able to get all the way through any. I’ve been unbelievably picky and critical of late, and I fear that’s going to show through in this review. See, I can’t just turn my brain off and accept. I need things to make sense, to form a picture, and to follow some basic rules. Both of human nature and of fiction writing.

I will preface this by saying I’m not sure I’d have finished this book if not for my little one being sick and wanting me to snuggle with her. I needed something to do, so I read.

I’m not going to rate this as I’m still not sure how I feel about rating books, but I will give you my honest thoughts.

 

Genre

Southern Arcana is not my usual fare, but it was billed as romance novel with these elements, so I went for it. Interestingly enough, the paranormal aspects were mostly fine. I don’t mind werewolves, wizards, or shifters in my stories.  The author did seem to have a thorough understanding of this genre, and I could see her building a world with it.

 

Setting

The main back-drop of the story is New Orleans, but I’m not sure the author has ever been there. After living there myself for five years, I can tell you a northerner would not survive August in New Orleans wearing a sweatshirt. Most southerners couldn’t.

I also never felt like the author transported me back to the city. No mention of the oppressive heat, humidity or smell. Places like Café Du Monde and things like beignets were used to add flavor, but that’s about it. I get that not every writer can afford to visit, and it is the ideal setting for anything mystic. I know. I lived there.

There were the beginning overtures of politics in the supernatural society, and perhaps that will be fleshed out in later novels. It didn’t matter for this one, and I appreciate the author not spending a lot of time on it.

 

Characters

This was a mixed bag

There was a huge cast of characters. Not entirely sure why there were so many, but I’m assuming it’s a set-up for more books. Rather annoying, but okay. I get it.

The characters were all beautiful and sexy, standard fare for a romance novel.

Heroine – I liked the heroine. She was strong, but believable. Her fear, her disbelief. I got it. Only part that made me raise my brows was that she was in love with the hero in less than a week. In less than two days, actually.

Hero – He was pretty flat. Attractive, a bit of southern ladies’ man, a good cook, and a first rate wizard. Yup, that sums up his whole character.

Beyond this, things go downhill pretty fast. No one else really stands out, except for the “reformed” bad guy, Marcus, but his redemption was simply not believable.

Marcus  – He’s been raised by Big Bad Guy who’s a fanatic trying to save Marcus’s race of shifters. Marcus has believed in Big Bad’s cause his whole life. Calls Big Bad dad. Yet, a conversation or two with the heroine, not even all that deep or meaningful, and suddenly he’s ready to leave his father, abandon the cause he’s spent his whole life fighting for, and help her escape.

Um, no.

Not buying it for a minute. There was no soul-searching on Marcus’s part. No moment of truth. No pivotal event that inspired a change. Just a five minute conversation. This needed so much more. It’s not like Darth Vadar turned against the Emperor because Luke mentioned what a bad guy the Emperor is.

 

Plot

The plot was thin, and I felt the execution was lacking. Not quite Dues ex Machina, but pretty close. (Spoilers Ahead)

Act Three  – First Surprise – Nothing new should be introduced in Act Three, much less the end of Act Three. The author has established that not all supernatural phenomena are real (such as vampires not being real in this world). Suddenly, in Act Three, not only do we learn psychics are real, but we learn this as one is calling the hero to warn him about Big Bad.

Um, yeah.

To make this believable, the fact that there is a psychic and he’s real should’ve been introduced in Act One as part of the investigation the hero and his partner are working on before the heroine flies into their lives.

Act Three  – Second Surprise – Also, in Act Three, it’s revealed that the way the hero and heroine are going to defeat Big Bad is by merging their (souls?) and thus merging her shifting with his magic to make something as powerful as Big Bad.

Yeah, no.

Introducing this at the end is cheap. Also, not believable. Because, really, if you could combine a magic user and shapeshifter to create a being with off-the-charts power, people are going to be doing this left and right. It’s human nature.  It’s not like there was some epic quest to discover this information. Or they had to meet some unattainable criteria to do it. It was more of an “oh, by the way” moment standing in the kitchen. I wish I was kidding.

There is “risk” to them for doing the “merge”. Should something bad happen to either the mage or the shifter while they’re linked, bad things can happen to the other. Um, yeah, not nearly a big enough risk for magical types to not be doing this joining left and right.

Big Bad Lacks Consistency – For me, consistency is a must. Super powerful Big Bad can wipe the heroine’s personality and replace it with one that she goes along with him. So why didn’t he just do it? Why wait to wipe her after she’s made her hatred clear? Why didn’t he wipe her parents’ or Marcus’s parents’ personalities rather than kill them and exacerbate the issue of saving this race of shifters? Marcus and the heroine’s parents could’ve had more children that would become shifters had he let them live and simply made them docile. Doesn’t make sense, and this personality wipe was a key motive for her and Marcus.

Poor Character Motivation – I felt like character motivation was seriously lacking for the plethora of side characters. They need to be doing what they’re doing for their own ends not just because the plot requires it.

I mean, why would someone risk their life for a woman they’ve known a week? Or their twin sister’s life? Why, exactly, would the Werewolf Consortium care that some super powerful non-werewolf shifter killed a couple of people and is trying to kidnap a girl? I mean, if they really cared about those kinds of things, think of all the non-shifters they should be hunting down. They have no reason to join the fight, much less bring out their “big guns” which was required to take down Big Bad.

Hero and Heroine Feel Secondary – Yeah, they were the love interests. And at the very end they finally did things, but I prefer a story where the hero and heroine are doing more of the heavy lifting.  Helping figure stuff out. There was a whole cast doing most of the hard work and problem solving for them.

Ending Felt Taped On – After the heroine was captured (which I always dislike), I expected the story to come to a climactic ending. A big fight. Good guys win. Everyone goes home. Nope. They get her back, we have the Act Three surprises, and then there’s a much less climactic battle where the hero and heroine combine their powers and take out Big Bad. I almost felt like the author was stretching the ending for word count.

 

All in, it might have been a good read if I could’ve turned my brain off and just enjoyed. I couldn’t. One of my enduring problems. This is the first book of a series, but I won’t be buying the second. Your mileage may vary. Depends on what you’re looking for in a story.

 

Top 4 Reasons Why We Think We Procrastinate (and the 3 Reasons Why We Really Do)

 

As I’ve been writing this past week, I’ve discovered myself spending way too much time poking around social media, writing future blog posts, and just generally looking for excuses not to use my writing time to write.

prorast

This is odd for me. I am not a procrastinator by nature. As a matter-of-fact, I surprised more than one professor by turning in term papers weeks early. So, why am I procrastinating now?

As part of my procrastination, I decided to investigate and share with you.

 

4 Reasons I’ve Heard for Why I Procrastinate

1. Overconfidence – Maybe for some people. Possibly. But I’m not confident in my ability to put a solid ending on my current work-in-progress. I’m not oblivious to this fact, as here I am, admitting it to you! Do I think I can do it? With enough work, yes. So why am I procrastinating rather than putting in the work?

2. Lazy – Lazy is not an adjective I’ve ever applied to myself. Writing is a hobby, yes, but I’ve already managed to plunk down 55,000 words in 6 weeks while working a full-time job, dealing with 2 children’s birthday parties, Halloween, blogging, etc. So no, not lazy.

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3. Not Believing the Task is Important – This definitely doesn’t apply. I feel like the endings are very important. I may struggle with them, but I want the reader to feel like the build-up was worth it and the ending sufficiently epic. I want a mental fist pump at the end. I want my reader to have that happy grin when you’ve come to the end of a particularly good romance novel.

4. Not Knowing Where to Begin – Well, maybe this is the case. I’m a Panster when I write, so I don’t have the whole thing plotted out (which is very odd for me, but I’ve found it necessary if I want to keep my creativity engaged). I need to continue the story from where it is and get to it the end. Not sure the final product will be spectacular. Okay, pretty sure it won’t be, but that’s normal. That’s what editing and revisions are all about.

 

 

3 Reasons Science Says is Why I Procrastinate

You can take a look here and here if you’d like, but the gist of the articles is:

1. Avoidance Behavior – If you dread the task ahead of you, you may avoid doing it in the short-term. You know, procrastinate. This can cause a vicious cycle, but it does play into #3 below in that it gives a temporary feel-good emotion while you’re doing something other than what you dread. But I don’t really dread writing the ending. It’s a bit more difficult to write, sure, and I’ll be a little sad when the story ends. But I learned a long time ago that there’s another story in my head, so this isn’t the end.

2. Lack of Motivation – People are known to procrastinate when there’s very little motivation to do a hard task.  Now, we’re getting closer. Even if I complete writing the ending of my story, I have yet to start the long and difficult process of revisions. Furthermore, I have no leads on getting it agented and published so that I can get it to readers. So, yeah, motivation might be a little bit lacking. Yes, I want to finish the book. Yes, it’s important to me, but the real issue is when you combine this with the next point.

3. Present Emotions vs Future Emotions – There’s a very real emotional punch you get when you accomplish something. While finishing the book will be accomplishing something, any benefits are in the far distant future. If there are benefits.

Replacing my computer however… My computer has been acting up for almost a year now. It finally hit the wall with me when a “glitch” cost me 3,000 words or a full weekend’s worth of writing. So, I’m actively pricing out new computers, looking at their specs, etc. I will certainly purchase a new computer before I get anything published.

This feels more like I am getting something done, and I will certainly reap the benefits sooner. Just like the little laugh I get reading stuff on Twitter or Facebook. Instant and immediate gratification, versus one day, maybe, selling a book and getting it into the hands of readers who may or may not like it . . . .When I put it that way, it does make me wonder about the sanity of writers!

 

How about you? Do you procrastinate? What do you procrastinate doing? What’s your fix for it?