Over at Slate Magazine you can find a series of articles by Mason Currey focusing on creative individuals (from architects to musicians to artists to writers) and the habits they had with regard to their creative endeavors.
In the latest entry (number 11), Currey focuses on procrastination:
While there have been entries related to alcohol/drug use, time of day when creators create, etc. etc., I found this one of the more fascinating entries, if only because procrastination is one of those love/hate elements that I’m all too familiar with.
Due to my schedule, I have to work hard to find the time to actually sit in front of the computer and actually type. Usually -and I really hate to admit this- that time is quite limited, often to no more than two or so hours a day.
Having said that, I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a “procrastinator”. If I had more time available to me each day (and this looks to be a possibility in the next couple of years) then I would gladly spend more time before the computer.
On the other hand, my stories tend to be complex works with many moving parts that have to, in the end, all work together (or resolve themselves in the end) in a logical manner. Writing something like Nox, my most recent novel, required so much thought that there were times I wondered if I would ever get it finished. Basically, with that novel I had a clear beginning and a very clear ending, but getting the two main characters together and explaining their relationship in the broad context of the series had me running ragged. For every hour I spent on the computer, I would spend many more hours each day think-think-thinking about where it is I needed to take the book, and how this element might work and this one might not.
When the first draft was done, this middle segment of the book required considerable work before it felt complete. I wound up spending many hours reading and re-reading what I put down and reworking it into something that was at once exciting, fulfilling, and -most importantly- made sense. And, yes, that meant even less time before the computer typing.
There were times I dreaded approaching the computer, but once I’m committed and sitting before it, I tend to make the minutes and hours (few though they may be) count. The simple act of writing something -anything!- down always moved me that much closer to a final product.
So while I may spend precious little time each day actually in front of the computer writing, I wonder if the manner in which I write might be considered “procrastinating”. In my mind, it is, yet in my defense, I do work an awful lot on getting the books done.
Regardless, the results have been pleasing. I can honestly say that all the books I’ve written so far have been the best works I could create at the particular time of their creation and at my level of competence.
Right now I’m in the thick of things again with my latest work, the fifth book in the Corrosive Knights series. The book is, like all the ones before it, driving me crazy. But I do like what I’m seeing so far. And when I’m done with it and release it, I get to go back to that blank computer screen and start up the process all over again.
I wouldn’t want it any other way.