Doing the Right Thing at the Wrong Time

Posted by on July 11, 2014 in habits, writing | 2 comments

There are so many ways to procrastinate that look like work, it’s a wonder anything ever gets done. For instance, I have a friend who loves to market her writing, to talk to editors, interview, and put together outlines. But she detests turning those outlines into articles. She will send out an extra five letters of introduction, reconcile her finances for last year, make

I also take photos of flowers when I'm avoiding writing fiction.

I also take photos of flowers when I’m avoiding writing fiction.

budget predictions for next year, and scrub the toilet in order to avoid the actual writing part of her job. All of her procrastination activities are useful and helpful, but they are a good example of doing the right thing at the wrong time.

I’m writing a novel. I have a gap-ridden first draft, and am about a quarter of the way through first revisions. It has taken me about ten times longer to get this far than I ever imagined it would. There are lots of reasons it’s taking so long — from the fact I have to earn a living writing other things to being fearful. If you’ve been a reader your whole life, and you have a good idea of what good writing is, it can be terrifying to put your own work out there.

In any case, I find myself doing the right things at the wrong time constantly. Yesterday, during my scheduled writing time, I found myself wondering what categories I would use on Amazon when the book is completed. If you know much about self-publishing, you know that categories and keywords are critical because they are how people find your work, so choosing the best ones is the right thing to do. Choosing them when the book is only a fraction of the way to being finished is the wrong time to do it. I have also chosen an editor (who I will not be able to afford, barring a winning lottery ticket or other unforeseen windfall), and have discussed cover art with an artist whose work I admire. Right things, wrong time.

What productive things do you find yourself doing to avoid the hard stuff? Do you go with it, or do you exercise some discipline get yourself on track?

2 Comments

  1. Good question and I enjoyed reading your post…though I don’t really have the time for it! So you could say this is a perfect example of doing the right thing at the wrong time (I have a writing deadline to meet and at this rate I won’t ever meet it).

    What really gobbles up my time is book promotion on Internet – it involves so many things, from direct tweets to indirect ones (in areas that I’m interested in and happen to be the setting/premise/issues in my books) and of course, the biggest time-gobbler of them all, blogging!

    How do I cope? I don’t!

    • Thanks for commenting, Claude! Book promotion and socializing are suspiciously similar — well, promotion of anything on the internet feels like socializing :)

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