Your Build-up to Writing


You’re not unlike so many other writers when it comes to begging off the very thing you have chosen to do, claimed as your passion, and, if lucky, collect a few paycheques from. Writing calls to you, and it’s constant. I know this about writers, because I am one.

They say to know one is to be one. To be one also entails a whole lot of build-up; it’s in the excitement of getting closer to your intention, of producing a certain word count, or meeting a deadline, or even just finding your favourite pen at the bottom of your drawer.

I like to call it build-up. It sounds less…well, negative, noting, however, that a continual practice in this build-up stage will likely garner flat results. Experts publish about it in fancy-named journals. Students, honing their academic skills days before an exam, master it in intricate detail this truer than true art, nay, craft.

Of what do I speak?

Procrastination, of course.

Collect your golden award now. You are a master procrastinator. Congratulations.

You’ll see from the list that some well-disguised build-ups can be manufactured to look like actual work. That’s the trick, in knowing why you’re doing it:  to pass the time in order to avoid a freak out, or because some of this stuff actually needs doing, which it does, in most cases, just not when you’re deciding to do it.

Here are my top 101 things to do when I’m “building up” a writing assignment (See how I did that? Put a positive spin on it?). Maybe, if you run out of some build-ups of your own, you can refer to this list as a reminder. Contact me if you have a whopper of a good idea. I’m always adding to the list. I’m sure your expertise will lend itself when the need arises.

101. Tidy the bulletin board, group all unused pins in corner. You’ve impressed yourself.

100. Rewrite in tidy printing all post-its.

99.  Wash the dishes, spotlessly.

98. Review appointment book, which looks better when corner perforations are removed.

97. Think of a new organizational system that will surely be a cure-all to time wastage, to which you respond immediately by visiting your nearest office supply store.

96. Visit the nearest office supply store, your version of a candy store.

95. Reorganize your closet. It looks great now that it’s all colour-coordinated.

94. Make a cup of tea (or coffee, your choice).

93. Phone a friend you’ve ignored for three months, and now’s the perfect time to catch-up.

92. No answer, so you write an email.

91. And since you’re in your email, you decide to de-clutter your Inbox, your Send box, and whoops, now you’ve just deleted an imported bill. Backtrack and call service provider to reissue.

More to come! Well, maybe, depends on how well I build-up the next installment.

Pic by Simon Howden.


One thought on “Your Build-up to Writing

  1. As a writer I wonder to what extent blogging and social networking counts as procrastinating. When does the blogging to increase writing skills end and the procrastination begin? And for social networking, when does promotion/networking/marketing end and procrastination begin?

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