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I’ve been told that as a writer, if your story doesn’t grip you by the throat, and you keep putting off your writing—that’s a bad sign. It means your story sucks.

 In case this procrastination continues, and you have to force your writing for a few days, I’m told, you should consider a change of career. You aren’t cut out to be a writer.

I do procrastinate sometimes. And yes, my stories refuse to cooperate with me.

But I’ve never found that enough grounds for quitting as a writer. Sometimes, discipline is hard to come by and all I have to do is grit my teeth and just do the best I can with what I have. Just write. And I do just that—most of the time.

Writer or not, are you a procrastinator?  And if you’re a writer, do all your stories write themselves from beginning to end without a struggle?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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25 Comments

  • oldegg says:

    Thanks for you visit. Don't be afraid of writers block. Personally if I have difficulty I move into the story's environment myself and just observe my characters doing their thing with me just watching and listening too. Let them decide how they want to play out the story. Listen to them talk to each other but try not to interfere. This way in my current Maori story the characters come out with extraordinary conversation and wisdom which is definitely not me speaking! Well in other words go crazy! It helps.

  • Damyanti says:

    Thanks again to all the A-Zers who have dropped by! I myself haven't made much of progress into the Alphabet.

  • Hi Damyanti!

    Yes, I procrastinate sometimes – more often with editing than first drafts. A lot of the time, it's not that the story doesn't excite me, but I'm a little blocked on how to get from A to B – or to Z.

  • I'm an avid procrastinator when it comes to many things. I'm still stuck on the letter "A," but have bounced around a little through the alphabet. Looking forward to seeing you in April! Julie

  • I am such a procrastinator!! But for my writing, my stories usually write them selves. Sometimes I will get stuck and have to put the story away until inspiration knocks me over the head, but I have never thought about quitting!!

  • Definitely not true. What a bunch of bunk. I don't care if the greatest writer in the world said that. It's not applicable to everyone.

  • M Pax says:

    If that were true, there'd be no writers and nothing published. lol

    Sometimes I think it's just my brain wanting a break, or more time to compost things. I usually do something else…update websites, etc…, get my ledgers up-to-date, write blog posts.

  • o.O I've never had anyone say that to me. lol I don't think I'd consider it true either. Procrastination happens and maybe it's our subconscious telling us we've been working too hard and is forcing a break on us. 😉

  • Arlee Bird says:

    When I hear someone say "Procrastinate" I say "What?".
    Procrastination should be my name.

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

  • I procrastinate at times. I clean or play mindless computer games.

  • Damyanti says:

    Thanks for all the replies! I feel better about not giving up.

    I guess the muse does not always dance to the tune. The idea is to show up everyday, write what comes, and hope for the best. Sounds really miserable I know, but that is what the majority of writers do, even the good ones.

  • Jocelyn Rish says:

    I'm a tried and true procrastinator, and I don't think that means my stories suck (man, I hope not!). I think procrastination is born of a lot of things. For me, I love the rush of pushing up against a deadline. That's when my creativity truly soars. So I procrastinate to create that rush. Maybe I'd write better if I paced myself, but it honestly feels like the stories born in those moments are the best I have inside me.

  • I don't procrastinate on purpose but I am easily distracted 🙂 When I'm on my game I'm all or nothing. I will jump in head first until I can't take anymore then fall back for a while.

  • I have been writing for submission since I was sixteen, and procrastinating since I was about seventeen – that's a good few years now! But I always come up with something I'm proud of.

    I just can't write as though I was in business – ie. turn up at my desk at 9 and work through to 5. It comes in the middle of the night, and then nothing all day. It seems like a very simplistic viewpoint.

    (I've got washing in the machine from this morning that I haven't taken out yet – I can proscrastinate over any amount of things in my life.)

  • I've never heard that your writing/story stinks if you procrastinate.

    I do procrastinate sometimes…doesn't everyone? It may be because I work better under pressure. I always have. I don't think that it takes away from my writing.

    Interesting post.

  • KarenG says:

    Your second paragraph had me grinning, thinking about how often that describes me.

  • Gossip_Grl says:

    I am a bad procrastinator. I think though as a writer there are times that you have to step back, everyone needs a breather or you could face a burnout.

  • Rek says:

    I procrastinate often. Some stories suck even though they start out smoothly enough, no matter what I do to make them better. I don't know if it has something to do with writer or the idea but not everything we write is going to be perfect or submittable.

  • Li says:

    I don't agree that procrastination is a bad thing. Some stories leap onto the page, fully formed. Others, I toy with and look at from several angles; sometimes they are on the back burner for weeks, and my subconscious works on them until the right beginning, ending, or character presents itself.

  • There are days when I will do anything rather than sit down and get some words written. I'll clean dishes, sweep floors – anything. A rapidly approaching deadline usually cures me. 🙂

    Someone, and I can't remember who, said procrastination was all down to fear of the blank page, fear that the words wouldn't be as good as we wanted them to be. I often think there's a grain of truth in that.

  • booksbyjason says:

    I used to feel that way sometimes. There was nothing that happened to change it, I just realized I needed to be more prolific and it wasn't going to happen if I didn't do it. That meant it was time to write.

    But, with that said I still have times where I'm too burned out by the day job or other stressors in life to even pretend to be creative. At that time I need escapism. It comes either from reading or mindless violent video games. After some of that I'm ready to jump back in!

    And my mother said violence doesn't fix anything…

  • Rick G says:

    Personally I think that's bs. Some stories slip out like they're lubed up with brain (which sounds kinda dirty now that I write 😉 , others require more work. That being said, I haven't personally noticed any correlation between how fast I write it and how much the story does/doesn't suck.

  • I personally believe that if writing seems flawless and easy, we're doing something wrong. 😉 I'm not a procrastinator, but we all face challenges. I had to learn, for example, not to send my work out as soon as I hit 'the end,' and that outlining is useful.

  • I'd think almost all books would suck if that were the case!
    Yes, I'm procrastinating right now…

  • No. Drafting is something that takes a lot of time for me because my mind makes me stop for long periods of time while it works out plot issues.

    I almost envy those arrogant people who manage to write easily all the time. :-/

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