Writers are supposed to write. Sometimes writers want to write–or say they want to write–but don’t. They do other things instead.
Yesterday I sat down at my desk to write, but I didn’t. The day before I thought I might write, but I began cleaning out old files and the piles on my desk. I wanted to get organized. Yesterday I decided I should finish that job before I began writing. I filled a large garbage pail with papers. I never got around to writing. one word
Has that ever happened to you? It’s called procrastination.
This reminded me of a great book by my old voice dialogue teachers Hal and Sidra Stone, called You Don’t Have to Write a Book! The Procrastination Manual for Aspriring Writers and Doers. This is a very funny book…unless you find yourself doing the things they mention, like cleaning, talking about your book, exercising, and meditating, rather than writing your book. They call this “non-writing.” If you are accomplish the task of non-writing, you are a “non-writer.”
I like the photos in the book and the captions because I know Hal and Sidra. Looking at them provides me with another way to procrastinate.
I’m still not sure if Hal and Sidra really want aspiring writers to just “be” rather than to “do.” (I really think they are just pointing out all the ways writers procrastinate so they might stop and actually write their books. I could be wrong.) Maybe they want writers to feel less pressured about having to write a book, but I can tell you they have the aspiring writers’ procrastination tools down pat. So, if you want to discover more ways to procrastinate and not write your book, check out Hal and Sidra’s book.
I’ve got the cleaning part down. Meditating provides me with a good one, too. I like it a lot. Blogging works well. It constitutes writing, and, while I have blogged a book, it doesn’t always help me get a book written. More often than not it stops me from writing my book.
Are you a non-writer a lot of the time or some of the time? What do you do instead of writing a book?
Tomorrow we’ll consider why writers don’t write and procrastinate instead.