The Ten Effective Habits of Procrastinators

A week may be a long time in politics, but it feels remarkably short if you’re trying to put off writing an article about procrastinating. I did think about starting this earlier in the week, but decided I needed an authentic voice. Accordingly I put off writing it for as long as possible; all in the name of research, you understand. Or maybe I just found 101 things I needed to do more urgently. I enjoy writing, really I do, but somehow the allure of a finished piece of work is never quite as strong as the desire to put it off, or the belief that all the other things I suddenly need to do are significantly more important than writing.

  1. Anything connected to the dog. The dog is a new addition to our household. We’ve had him for less than a month and, already, I’m not sure what I did Before Dog (BD). Writing, possibly. Either way it wasn’t walk, feed, play with, cuddle or endlessly clean up after the dog. Honestly, it’s not that different to having children and they caused a writing drought that lasted for eight years! Plus the dog has his own twitter account and a poor grasp of English. Helping him maintain that is a task in itself.
  2. Housework. Any student will tell you that the times their home has been cleanest have all corresponded to the times they had essay deadlines to meet or exams to revise. I know this for a fact because I have just checked with my nephew (see point 3, below). What is it about facing a deadline that makes cleaning the floor suddenly so imperative? I just washed the kitchen floor before typing this, as it happens.[i]
  3. Research. This one is the real jewel in the crown if you are a writer, because it looks and feels like a virtuous activity to be engaged in, as it is, provided you occasionally work some of your findings into, you know, your writing, should you ever do any.
  4. Baking. I do love baking. Know what would really help my writing right now? That’s right: a cake to eat. A nice, sticky cake. I might go and bake one right now, before I settle down to write.
  5. Baking which also serves as research. Did I mention research was the crown jewel? Well this one, for me, is the Koh-i-noor. My book is about baking. Obviously I need to try all the recipe before I can write about them with anything like the level of passion my book requires. Yes, all of them; frequently.
  6. Blogging. Blogging is writing, right? It’s just that it takes so long, what with searching for all the images, getting the formatting right, promoting your latest blog post, which is about your writing.
  7. Reading. Anyone will tell you that, if you want to be a great writer, first be a great reader. I will write, but first I have to read and then, because I tend to inhabit the books I read, I find that I start to think like and thus write like whichever book I’m currently reading. This messes with my own style, so you’ll just have to wait a bit while I recover that, OK?
  8. YouTube. I’ve settled down to write, only I just remembered that really funny video on YouTube. You know that one with the cat, the dog, the roomba and the duckling?
  9. Writer’s Block type 1: the one where you can’t think of anything to write. You know how they say that everyone has at least one book inside them? Well what if I have only a pamphlet and a few short blog posts?
  10. Writer’s Block type 2: the one where you don’t believe anything you write is of any value. I would write, but since everyone else is better than me, better educated, funnier, more thought-provoking and with a better grasp of English grammar, I’ll leave it to them.

I hope that helped any amateur procrastinators out there. I’m off to work on my book now; once I’ve set up a blog for the dog.

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About Jacqui Searle

I live with a husband, two children and a small, crazy dog. I write when I can, usually about grandmothers, although I haven't figured out why that is yet. In my spare time I walk the dog, bake cakes, sew badly and write. I once drove a steam train - that was amazing. I've also driven a vintage tractor and crewed narrowboats.

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