Procrastination and the Writing Process

Hello, readers and bloggers. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Thursday’s #StoryDam chat on Twitter was great. It was about the writing process and how procrastination fits into it. Procrastination, as it ties to the writing process, is a result of putting off what we like least about the writing process. For me, the least thing I like about the writing process is reading critiques from other writers, which leads to more drafting. Now, being a writer, it is my mission to be the best I can be. And that means submitting work to beta readers and critique partners. I will say that it is rare that I received a critique that totally bashed my work. The critiques are well-balanced, highlighting the good and bad. But I’m one of those people who take critiques too seriously; like they’re attacking my abilities. 

(Side note: taking critique harshly is not just a writing thing with me.)

As such, when someone highlights the bad more than the good, I shut down. I find reasons to put off writing the next draft. Hence, the procrastination. I say that I don’t have the energy to write. Or, I need to let the writing sit for a few days. Nothing wrong with letting your writing settle for a few days, but those few days can turn into weeks, then months, and so on. 

But, this is exactly what I signed up for. I have to take in the bad as well as the good. But the mistake I make is looking at the bad parts as an attack on my writing ability. Rather, I need to look at them as ways to improve the project I’m working on. I know this sounds rudimentary, but I imagine I’m not the only one who struggles with critiques and ego. Writers who get a bad review must struggle with having their ego deflated, thus halting any project they’re working on. All because of one bad review. Quite fascinating. 

The point is just because we get a critique that highlights the negative or we receive a bad review, it shouldn’t stop us from writing. It certainly shouldn’t use them as an excuse to procrastinate. Yes, we need a moment to take in those critiques, but we need to look at them through different lenses. I know I do.

What about you? What’s your least favorite thing about the writing process? Do you struggle with procrastination?

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Author: G. R. McNeese

I'm originally from Illinois, currently residing in Georgia. I graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing. I am blessed with a supportive wife and family.

5 thoughts on “Procrastination and the Writing Process”

  1. It is hard to read the bad when I get notes back from a partner. In an ideal world, we’d all create perfect stories on the first time. In only, eh? But since it’s not, we have to learn to suck it up and realize that we need help to get that story right and that means having the bad pointed out.

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    1. For sure. I think somewhere along the way in our writing journey, we’ve been led to believe that if we’re good enough, our writing will please everyone and we don’t need a rewrite. But maybe that was just me.

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  2. I’m an old hand at receiving critiques. I remember being hurt and defensive in the beginning. But now I appreciate it when someone highlights where I’ve fallen short, especially if they have a suggestion of how to improve it. It helps that I’ve known the writers in my critique group for twenty-five years. It also helps that when I ask for feedback, I put on my analytical hat rather than my needing-affirmation hat.

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  3. I know what you mean. I literally will start to write and then get up and putter around for a while, then get back to the page, thinking, ‘why did I ever leave in the first place?’ Thank you for your post!

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