Tag Archives: procrastination

Goals for October 2017

We’re in October already, which means that November and NaNoWriMo are just around the corner, so it’s time to set up my goals for the month.

The main one, of course, will be to decide on a project for NaNoWriMo and get it outlined.

The other main one is to get the additional scenes for Onyx Sun written and inserted into the manuscript, then get it printed so I can do another round of paper edits on it. At this point I’m relatively certain that it is not going to be published this year.

I’m really balking at working on it, finding a million other things to do instead.


I’m not sure, but for some reason it just feels like my heart isn’t in it right now. The Academy of the Accord is calling. It’s been on my mind more and more lately. I really want to get back to it. I miss it, miss the characters, and I want to get back to it.

But Onyx Sun is my current project and I’d really like to finish it and get it published but…

But my heart’s not really in it.

My heart is with The Academy of the Accord and I’m starting to resent Onyx Sun for keeping me from it.

So, remember Friday, and that novel (prequel to The Academy of the Accord) that I’m not outlining? Yeah? Well, that non-outline now has an epilogue and the whole thing is looking like a good candidate for November.

It doesn’t have nearly enough plot points yet, and the main characters are still lacking some important things, like… oh… descriptions.

And names.

Definitely need names. (Actually, I need to check the current series and see if I ever named either of them. I think the wizard might have been named in passing, but it’s more likely that there is a note to myself to name him.)

Anyhow, writing down what the epilogue was going to be made me have to write notes to check and change things in the series.

Then I started making more notes that may end up changing other things in the series – mostly in the later books. (Book Seven, especially, and Book Twelve.)

I also wrote myself a note “Is this prequel going to delay the series?”

Then I wrote some more notes about things I will need to edit based on the epilogue, and then another note to myself: “Yep! Series may be delayed.”

(I hope not! I sincerely hope not. 2020 is a good release date.)

So, I think I may switch to daily goals. Every day I have to do something related to either Onyx Sun or The Academy of the Accord, even if it’s only writing one line or adding one plot point to the prequel’s outline.

So yesterday I typed up what I have of the outline so far and today I wrote down another idea to include in it. It’s a rather vague idea and I’m not sure how (or if) it’s going to work, but it’s written down. (It kind of doesn’t fit the universe but I think I can make it work.)




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Bad Idea

Guess what I did on my days off?

Nothing all that productive (other than planting the grapevine my roommate bought to replace the one the neighbor destroyed).


Mostly I read. I’m telling you, that Kindle app on my phone is the death of productivity. Of course, it was also much cooler downstairs than it was up in my room. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Now, reading in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. After all, when you’re not writing or re-writing you should be reading.


But for some reason I started thinking about one of the stories in my “Novels I’m Ignoring” folder so I opened it up and re-read it.  It’s Hedge House and was my 2015 NaNoWriMo novel.

And you know what? It’s not too bad for a first draft. If you overlook all the typos (I fixed a bunch) and the notes that I left for myself, it’s really pretty good plot and character wise.

It’s not finished, though. I haven’t had the big final fight and wrapped up stuff, and I’m not even sure I’m to that point with it yet. I do know that I shouldn’t have read it because now I want to get back to work on it, but there’s so much else I should be focusing on.

Maybe it would be all right to start a spiral bound notebook for it of things to check on, threads I don’t want to let drop, etc… That’s not really working on it, is it?

Anyhow, lesson learned:

Don’t re-read old WiPs unless you intend to go back to work on them right that minute.

And I still have no idea what I’m doing for Camp in two weeks, but having re-read Hedge House I now have one more option to try to sort through.

I still have two weeks to decide, right?

Meanwhile, someone keep me from re-reading any more old WiPs or I’ll never be able to decide.


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Reasons, Excuses, and Other Dodges

So I was laying in bed this morning trying to make myself get up and get my day started and thinking that it was too hot to move. (For those don’t know me, I hate the heat and it was already about 80F and the fan wasn’t helping much.)

And then I was thinking about how much the heat drains me and how I don’t feel like doing much of anything, including writing, and then I wondered if that was a reason or an excuse.

I decided that it was an excuse and that excuses were a good topic for a blog post.

(Hey, it’s better than my original thought of comparing writing a novel to gardening – I’m saving that gem for another day.)

So then I started thinking about a form I have somewhere about excuses and believe it or not I found it on my computer.

It’s from my days as a Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo and it’s called “Resistance vs. Life Happens: How to Tell the Difference.”  I don’t know who created it (and the URL given at the bottom apparently doesn’t work anymore) but it was passed freely so I’m going to try to share it in the blog post.

And then I’m going to use it.

Of course, first I’m going to have to set up scheduled writing times because it’s based on “Broken Writing Dates” and forces you to look at why you stood yourself up.  Then it asks you to identify themes and form a plan of correction and start the process all over.


Resistance vs. Life Happens: How to Tell the Difference

Fill in the following information over the course of several weeks to a few months depending on the frequency of how often you miss your scheduled writing time. (Make additional copies as necessary.) Identify any themes that become obvious. Address those specifically and aggressively. Are you allowing any distraction to come between you and your work or are there specific problems that can be easily remedied? For example, turning the phone off, finding childcare etc. If you find that every time is a different reason, then you will need to be more proactive in protecting your writing time and space by asking for and receiving help from family and friends. Answer the questions at the end and develop an action plan.

Broken Writing Date

Date scheduled:
Time scheduled:
Did instead:
Other people present:
What else was going on at the time?
Thoughts that were going through my head at the time:
Emotions felt immediately before scheduled writing time:
Emotions felt immediately after missing scheduled writing time:
Identification of themes:  ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Action plan to address missed appointments:




Action-oriented replacement thoughts to deal with emotional aspects if present:




After implementation of the action plan, have you missed fewer writing appointments?

_____ YES _____ NO

If not, have the themes changed?

_____ YES _____ NO

If so, what is your new action plan?




Based on questions developed for a critique group at A Ream of Writers (http://areamofwriters.freeforums.org/index.php). These questions were inspired by Chapter 14 in Kelly L. Stone’s book Time to Write © 2008.



If anyone knows the originator of the above, please let me know so I can ask permission to post it here.  I know it was made available to MLs to share with their regions, so I’m hoping it’s all right to share here.


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Time Sinks

You know what they are. They’re those black holes that you fall into and before you know it you’ve lost hours of your day.

A few of mine:

Pinterest. I’m pretty good at avoiding this one, but when I fall… I look at someone’s board, then go the board of someone that they pinned an image from, and from there I find other boards and other people and… Yeah. Half a day and forty boards later I come up for air, bleary eyed, wondering what year it is.

Jigzone.  I’ll admit it. (I may have already admitted it here.)  I am a jigsaw junkie. I have been known to skip meals while engrossed in a jigsaw puzzle. I have been known to ignore chocolate cake with peanut butter icing while engrossed in a jigsaw puzzle. I have foregone sleep while engrossed in a jigsaw puzzle.  I’m only semi successful at avoiding jigzone.

YouTube. *sigh* Let’s not go there.  No, I mean, really, let’s not go there. I’m currently addicted to all things Pentatonix.  And to Superfruit videos. And the comments on them. And the Moody Blues. And then I look up old songs that I used to like or wonder if they’re on YouTube.  And then I start looking at horse videos and videos of Boxers (dogs, not fighters).  I’m um… really not good at avoiding YouTube. I tell myself that I’ll use it as a reward, that I’ll watch one (just one!) video and then get back to work. And, yeah, one video becomes two hours and…

Yeah. FaceBook pales in comparison to those.

Then there are online games. I’m pretty good at avoiding them, mostly because I haven’t even thought about them recently. (Until now.  Thank you, me. Now I have to go find Alchemy and BookWorm and Hangaroo, and…)

No. Just no.  I am not going to go there, I’m just not.





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The Stress Factor

I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of The Fudge Factor, but if you haven’t (or have never heard it defined) The Fudge Factor is any number which when added to, subtracted from multiplied by, or divided into the number you got gives you the number you should have gotten.

The Stress Factor is something that I just made up. It is any event (or series of events) which when added to or multiplied by the stress you already have gives you more stress than you can deal with.

In that case, of course, the first instinct is to retreat.

We’ve had a lot of that in the last month and a half or so, and I — a lot of us — have been retreating.

And then we’ve found other ways to deal and get ourselves back on track.

And then something else happens.

Anyone remember those big bowling pin shaped punching bags that you knocked down and they bounced back up?  That’s pretty much how I’m feeling lately.

And that’s not a bad thing: knock me down and I bounce back up. And if you’re not careful I’ll bop you on the head.

But sometimes, before you bounce back up, you need to retreat, to find something to do to lessen the effects of The Stress Factor until you can find your feet (and your balance) again.

A long time ago (before personal computers were common) I used to paint D&D figurines to retreat from work stress.  I showed one to a co-worker once and she asked how I could do that after a stressful day at work.  I replied that it helped with the stress because all of my attention was focused on the end of a very fine (sometimes only a couple bristles) paintbrush and everything else was just pushed away.  I don’t think she got it.

Now, though, I do jigsaw puzzles.

I am a jigsaw puzzle addict. I always have been.  I’ve been known to ignore chocolate cake with peanut butter icing while working on a jigsaw puzzle.  I don’t really have any place here to set up a table for a one, so I’ve been spending a lot of time on JigZone lately.

Jigsaw puzzles (physical or computerized) don’t require much thought, just a focus on color and shape. Focusing on a puzzle (I like the harder cuts) lets me get my conscious mind off of the day’s Stress Factor so that my subconscious can deal with it.

(And, okay, JigZone provides an unhealthy dose of procrastination, too.)

So, what does everyone else do to procras regroup from stress?


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Pressure Points

Pressure is a strange thing. Too much and something can explode.  (Or implode, depending on which direction the pressure is coming from.) But in the proper amount, pressure can be useful.  It can propel things forward, for instance.

Things like writing.

As you’re probably aware I recently backed out of a couple projects I was taking on.  The pressure from them was too much and I was imploding.  I was motionless, unable to move forward.  I felt (and was) stuck.

Since dropping them, I have been feeling much more creative. Ideas are flowing and excitement is building.

I am, however, someone who needs at least some sort of pressure in order to actually get things done instead of just create inside my head.  That’s why NaNoWriMo is such a great thing for me. (And I am including the Camp sessions in that.)

The goal.  The deadline.  The fact that hundred of thousands of other people are doing it too…

Yeah, just enough pressure.

The problem then becomes how to have “just enough pressure” the other nine months of the year.  I need a goal and a deadline and some sort of accountability.  A goal and a deadline are easy, but the accountability?  Not so much.

I’m going to set up some sort of tracker in my bullet journal, but I’m not quite sure of the final design yet.

(What I really want is the NaNoWriMo graph available all year long that I can plug my monthly word count goal into and have it tell me how much I need to write each day to meet it, etc.  I love that thing – it really helps me stay motivated.)

So now I’m asking:

What keeps you motivated on long term projects? (Not necessarily writing, but anything that doesn’t produce instant results, be it a large embroidery or cross stitch project, a creative endeavor of any sort, saving money for something far in the future, losing weight, getting rid of clutter, whatever.)

What do you do to keep just enough pressure to keep you moving?



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Writing, Sort Of

You know, I really shouldn’t be left unsupervised for long periods of time; I get into far too much trouble when left to my own devices.

I had my gallbladder removed on Monday, and managed to convince my surgeon to let me go home that same day.  (I’m a nurse (LPN) and my roommate’s a nurse (RN) so there really wasn’t any valid reason to keep me overnight.  I mean, it wasn’t like I was going to be overdoing things.  All I did was sleep all day and all night, and in the brief moments when I wasn’t sleeping I wasn’t exactly conscious and coherent, but anyhow…)

So, I’ve been home since Monday, conscious since Tuesday.

My roommate was home Tuesday (and I still didn’t feel like doing too much) but she went back to work Wednesday, just in time for me to be feeling well enough to see what kind of trouble I could get into.

About half a lifetime ago, I had a lot of pen pals.  But then life happened and I kind of drifted away from it, although not without regrets, and part of me wishes I could find the addresses of my old pals and write to them again.

But anyhow…

(You all do see where this is going, don’t you?)

I joined a couple pen pal groups on Face Book.

And then I Googled…


I’m trying to be good, really I am.

I mean, writing (novels, not letters) is my first priority, but I miss having pen pals.

And letter writing will give me a break from novel writing, and expose me to new ideas and…

See?  Anything can be rationalized and related to writing.


I wonder if there’s a group for novel writers looking for pen pals?

*wanders off in search of a cup of tea and the answer to the question*


P.S. Me of the illegible handwriting ordered a fountain pen, too.  This should be… interesting.










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Magical Unrealism

I have a problem and I really have no idea how to solve it.

I have a tendency to overestimate myself as far as what I can accomplish in any given day/week/month/year/lifetime.

This results in me overbooking and overextending and over-committing myself.

And that results in nothing getting done. (Due, in part, to my “all or none” mentality that makes it hard for me to just chip away at big projects little by little.  I’m working on changing that one, but anyway…)

The above has led to my current backlog that I need to work my way out of.

What is said backlog?


Two Pocket Letters that are unfinished but overdue.

Two Pocket Letters that aren’t started but is overdue.

One Pocket letter that isn’t started but has no sharp due date.

Three Pocket Letters that are barely started and due soon.

Unknown number of Pocket Letters (I think six or so) that aren’t started and are only semi-committed to but are due soon.

Then there’s the upcoming holiday that I am totally unready for.

And crafts.

Starting with way too many started counted cross stitch projects and ones that aren’t started but that I want to do.

And crochet.  (Must stay off of Ravelry.)

And assorted other crafts that I want to work on.  (Like my much neglected dollhouse that I’m remodeling).

And crafts I want to learn: leather-working, wood-burning, beading, jewelry-making, soap making, spinning, wood-carving…

And then there are the writing projects.

Shall I list them?

Yes, I think I shall.

9K owed from September’s 1K-a-Day Challenge.

27K owed from October’s 1K-a-Day Challenge.

10K owed from November’s 1K-a-Day Challenge. (I hit 50K for NaNoWriMo but my personal goal was 60K.)

31K for December’s 1K-a-Day Challenge.

Finish revisions for Onyx Sun so I can get it published.

Finish Hedge House so I can revise and edit it and get it published so my friend Caroline doesn’t fly over from England and stand over me with a scythe.

Finish Book 6 of The Academy of the Accord series so I can edit the series next year and (hopefully) release it in 2017.

Finish Book 2 of The Other Mages trilogy because that’s all part of my very first NaNoWriMo novel and I really want to get it out there.  I owe it to the books to finish the trilogy because that’s what got me started on this madness.

All of the above can be finished by the end of this month, right?

Then there’s the rest of the list.

Finish Lost House.

Finish Guardians of the Abyss.

Finish a novel based on a tabletop RPG a friend is creating.

Write the sequel to Song and Sword.  (Tentative title: Song and Stone.)

Write the sequel to Sanguine.

Write the sequel to Onyx Sun. (Yes, I know it isn’t even out yet.)

Write a spin off to Onyx Sun.

Finish and revise The Sword and the Shield, a paranormal mess that I wrote in November of 2011, the month that I couldn’t decide what to write for NaNoWriMo so I wrote two 50k novels – while working full time, going to school part time, and ML’ing for the first time. (Work and school were in totally different directions, by the way.)

Finish and revise Disturbed Magic, the other mess from 11/2011.

Finish the trilogy without a name and add it to the revise and edit pile.

Finish Sea Witch (tentative title) – a novel that grew from a picture a friend sent me for a writing prompt.

Finish Vishkya, a fantasy novel that I started simply to shut it up – and for catharsis, to purge something from my past.

Expand a flash fiction piece about an angel and a demon into a novel.

Finish a… (I’m not sure what to call the genre) novel that I started ages ago.  (Like most of my stuff it doesn’t have a name.)

Find and finish a novel that I started so long ago that I didn’t have a good storage system so it was printed chapter by chapter on a dot matrix printer.  (I’m pretty sure that it was written in Word Star and the computer didn’t even have a modem.)

And then there’s a folder full of snippety type things.  They’re not really fully developed enough to be considered novels or even valid starts, but they are more than plot bunnies.  There are too many to list individually.

(The more I worked on this list, the more half-remembered, half-started stories came to mind.  There are more – lots more – and now they’re all going to be clamoring for attention too.)

And there is also my “plot bunny bag” that holds slips of papers that hold ideas for stories.  Every once in a while I get brave and dive into it, but that way lies madness.

And, of course, I should be able to get all of those done by the end of next year.




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E Is For…



Energy Crisis

Whatever you want to call it, I have it.

I managed to get basically nothing done on my two days off.  Oh, I cleaned the rat cage and did laundry and sorted decorations and dragged them up from the basement.   And I risked life and limb to drag the box of cards out of the top of my closet.

I did finish one Pocket Letter that was almost done and I started another.  I’m going to rethink my plan on that though.  The ones that are late are already late and have no chance of hitting a deadline, so I’m going to focus on the one that aren’t late and get them out so that they don’t add to the guilt load that is hanging over my head.

Granted, I don’t have much time on work days, but I figure if I do one card insert before work and one after work I’ll at least be moving forward – slowly, perhaps, but still moving.

And I’m going to need to write every day too, even if it’s just a hundred words.  I know my goal was at least 31k this month and preferably 77k but the 77 is definitely not happening and the 31 is looking iffy because I haven’t written a thing all month.  I can still pull it out, but…

But I’m thinking that I might need to revise my goal for the month from writing 31k (and finishing Book 6 of the Academy of the Accord series) to finishing the first draft of Hedge House and the revisions on Onyx Sun.

But I really want to get Book 6 done so I can work on editing the entire series… But as long as I get it done before I get to editing Book 5 it should be all right.

But Hedge House is a lot closer to being done than Book 6 of The Academy of the Accord is, and Onyx Sun is the only thing currently close to being publishable.

And I really need to get something published.

See, I posted this on FaceBook Wednesday night:

“Someone motivate me to do something. Write. Make pocket letters. Set up blog posts. Something!”

And my friends pitched in to help.

One told me “You can procrastinate when you’re dead, woman. Live while you’re alive! Your characters are waiting for you to bring them to life and take them on an adventure!”  I protested that I wasn’t really procrastinating, I was just doing nothing, and she said “Some days you just have to be a lump.”

Another told me “It’s okay to take a few days to do nothing but recharge. It feels weird, though, to do nothing.”

And another threatened to send me “an exploding bag of corgi shed” if I didn’t get productive.  Of course, that would just be a snack for the killer dust bunnies, so I’m not too concerned about that threat.

Another posted this:


But the most helpful response was this one:

“GET THE FUCK WITH IT!!! I want another book!!”

So, yeah… I need to get busy and get something published.


Before the killer dust bunnies breed with the killer plot bunnies and…



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Can you believe that I’m planning next year’s goals already?  I can’t.

I mean, we still have two months left of this year: there’s no way I should be trying to organize next year’s writing and editing goals.

And yet I found myself doing just that yesterday.  I’d finished my usual morning routine and had caught up on the Sunday Snippets blog hop, so instead of writing or working on an outline, or doing anything else related to the goals still remaining for this year, I started working on making a list and schedule of my goals for next year.

And at some point it dawned on me that I was procrastinating.

“But I’m not,” I argued with myself.  “This is useful stuff that I’m doing.”

Well, yes.  It is useful.  It’s nice to have a list of the things I want to work on and some sort of timetable for getting them done.  But I already have an impossibly long list of things that I need to do by the end of this month.  (I procrastinated more today by making a list of them and figuring out that I need to write 6000 words a day for the rest of the month to make my goal – which, admittedly, will make the 2k a day I want to do next month seem like a short note, but still…)

And that’s the most dangerous kind of procrastination – the kind where you’re doing “useful” stuff – because it doesn’t feel like you’re wasting time so you don’t count it as procrastination.  (Unlike, say, time spent on FaceBook.)

And now it’s time for me to quit procrastinating and go frost the pumpkin bars, which aren’t really procrastination because you can eat them.



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