Behind the Blog

You may be wondering why I started this blog (or maybe not if you’ve already read Confession #1: My Ulterior Motive…).  The truth is, it’s all part of an elaborate experiment to see if I can harness my powers of procrastination for good instead of evil…well, maybe not evil per se (although I’m sure there are people who would consider time-wasting evil) but for now let’s just focus on the good part…

So here’s some background:

Like approximately 80%* of the population, I’ve decided that I want to write a novel. And like approximately 75%* of the population I haven’t done much about it. Sure, I’ve come up with a story, I’ve written plot summaries/outlines, I’ve even written chapter one. I’ve written several chapter ones, in fact. And that’s where I come unstuck – by the end of chapter one I usually come up with an idea for a different story and I get started writing new plot summaries etc instead of working on chapter two.

In the time since I made the decision to write (which, sadly, is around five years or so) I’ve tried several different methods to keep me focused long enough to just get the first draft out of the way, but so far nothing has worked. Nanowrimo was the latest failed attempt. For those of you who don’t know, the aim of Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, ignoring your urge to edit and just focusing on finishing your novel by the deadline. This is an excellent strategy for a lot of people but a terrible one for a procrastinator like me. To reach 50,000 words in 30 days you have to write at least 1,667 words per day. So if you happen to slack off one day (say, by spending your time killing zombies instead…) that means the following day you’d have to write 3,334 words to make up for your day off. And if you don’t feel like writing for a whole week that means you’d have a whopping 11,669 words to catch up on! I’m a fairly competitive person so maybe if I’d actually signed up to do Nanowrimo during the official National Novel Writing Month I might have been spurred on by all the other participants and had more success, but November is typically a very busy month for me (the first time I decided to try Nanowrimo I was getting married in that month, and the following year my baby was born in November. I think they’re pretty good excuses….) In any case, my husband The Motivator tried to use the competitive angle to help me and signed up to write his own novel in a month (we chose May) but that ended up backfiring. He was so much more disciplined at meeting his word count than I was that it just depressed me even more when I couldn’t think of anything to write! Also, I found that even when I was being very disciplined (which lasted about three whole days) everything I wrote was absolute rubbish – turns out that ignoring my ‘inner editor’ is not a good thing for me.

*I’m guessing…

The Experimental Process:

If you’ve read anything about how to write a novel, you’ll know that a lot of the ‘experts’ (well, they managed to finish their books so that makes them experts to me…) say that to be a writer you need to write every day. I’ve already discovered from the Nanowrimo fiasco that setting myself daily word counts does NOT work for me, and if I make writing a chore then I’m just going to find a way to avoid doing it. So, The Motivator suggested that I start a blog (yes Hunny, I’m giving you the credit for this…or the blame, depending on how you look at it). At first I wasn’t really interested because I couldn’t think of anything that I’d want to write about on a regular basis but then I came up with this experiment. The idea is that if I use this blog as a focal point for my procrastinating then, even when I’m trying to avoid writing my novel, at least I’ll be writing more frequently.

So to that end, I’ve come up with a plan for The Confessional in which I will confess my procrastinating sins. Hopefully at some point I’ll run out of these sins though, so I’m also going to post on other things whenever I can be bothered. The other experimental thing about me maintaining a blog is that I’ll probably get bored and will move onto something else so that I can avoid writing new posts – ideally that something else will be my novel.

Eventually I’m hoping that I can also use this blog to give progress updates on my long-awaited (by me, at least) novel but that’s only likely to happen if this experiment is a success. So keep your fingers crossed for me!

  1. The Hobbler says:

    I think procrastination is the writer’s curse. I think you have a lot of good reason’s why you are writing a blog (also good reasons why not to). I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

  2. H.E. Ellis says:

    I swear I could teach a class on procrastination, especially when it comes to writing. It took me almost three years to finish mine. Glad to see that I’m not alone.

  3. Tom Elias says:

    I’ll vouch for H.E. up there’s procrastinating skillz, and yes, try to write every day. I think this blogging daily will help get you there – I know another writer who successfully did exactly as you are trying and it got him into a 500 word/day routine that got him over the top of the hill.

    Very funny and entertaining blog! Keep it up and good luck!

    • Thanks Tom, but I really need to post an update… the experiment was a total failure and I haven’t written any new blog posts since… oh, about this time last year! I’ve managed to do incredibly well at Uni this year, though, and I’ve also had one of my short stories published in an anthology so all in all I’ve had a pretty good year. My new goal is to “Officially Start Writing My New Novel” on January 1st and have it ready for editing by April 4th (or to have at least 50,000 words done by that time). This time I’m making it a now-or-never deal so I can’t make excuses.

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