The 12 Stages of Writing (Or a Guide to Procrastinating Like a Pro)
I’ve been a professional procrastinator for as long as I can remember and it hasn’t improved with age. In fact, with the social media at my fingertips ALLATAHM, it’s gotten worse. This is why the week I took a social media break, I was super productive.
Those of us who write for a living might seem to have it together on the wordsmithing tip but often, we don’t get it together until the last minute. This is why I bring you the 12 Stages of Writing.
Step 1: Decide you’re gonna write
You gotta write a blog post, an op-ed, a proposal, a book. SOMETHING! You just gotta put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and make words come out. So you open your computer (if it wasn’t already. Actually, I’m sure it was. You probably haven’t shut down or restarted it in weeks. You know I’m right). TIME TO WRITE AWESOMENESS THAT’LL ROCK EVERYONE’S SOCKS!
Step 2: Spend 30 minutes on Facebook and Twitter
But first you need inspiration for what you will write so you log into Facebook and Twitter. All you need is 5 minutes and you’ll be set. That is all.
25 minutes later, you see that you spent 30 minutes instead. CRAP! Time to get down to work.
Step 3: Open up MS Word
You open up Microsoft Word and confront the blank page. It’s you and it in this together. No looking back.
But wait! You remember the email you forgot to answer.
Step 4: Spend 30 minutes in Gmail
You open up Gmail and answer that email. But one of your friends GChats you. DANG! I thought I was invisible. Ok but this is the homie so this is probably important. 30 minutes later of conversation involving that random person’s drama unfolding on Facebook (OMG THE STATUS WARS WERE SO JUICY), you’re like “Ok I just came in here for a sec. I gotta write this thing.” And they’re all “Talk to you later. But DID YOU HAVE YOU SEEN THIS VIDEO YET???” and then they drop a link because you BOTH can’t have nice things.
Step 5: Spend 1 hour on YouTube
Because that one link sent you down the den of iniquity that is YouTube and you’re cackling like you have no worries (or deadlines) in the world. Until you look at the clock and realize that time dropkicked you by 1 hour. CRAP!!! And don’t let you end up in Tumblr! YOU ARE DONE FOR!
This is why you can’t have nice things like productivity. So you minimize your browser.
Step 6: Go back to Microsoft Word
HEY MICROSOFT WORD! Good to see you again! You type in the title of your piece. BOOM! You’re finally getting started and you hit a mini jig for this milestone. Then you sit there wondering what’s next. You decide that you don’t wanna write in Calibri. You’re feeling like feel like Georgia today. Hmmm… size 11 font or 12? Let’s do 12. You should also change the margins so more words can fit on the page when you type. CAUSE YOU’LL BE TYPING SO MANY GREAT WORDS! Ok now to really get started.
But you don’t know where to start. WHY AREN’T THE WORDS COMING? What do I wanna say? I DON’T WANNA DO THIS ANYMORE!
You throw a mini-tantrum and you imagine throwing your computer out the window. It’s only for a moment. You know you love LuvBook (I know I’m not the only one with a pet name for my laptop) and you never wanna hurt it.
You stroke your chin and then…
Step 7: End up back in Facebook and/or Twitter
Somehow, your cursor slips (O__O) and makes its way back to the lower side of the screen and Google Chrome pops up, with your 15 tabs still open. And it lands on Facebook! NOOOOOO! You were doing so good too! But since you’re here… Wait. You didn’t wish anyone a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” today. You KNOW one of your FB friends gotta be celebrating their born day today. So you wish that person you haven’t seen nor talked to in 15 years an enthusiastic HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! and you feel good because: nice.
Step 8: Spend 2 hours on BuzzFeed
It started with the link someone posted on your wall with the quiz about “What Potter House will you be in?” from BuzzFeed. And they put you in Ravenclaw and you’re mad about it. So you retake it and end up in Hufflepuff so you’re REALLY MAD because in your heart, Gryffindor is the only house for you. That leads you to other articles and before you know it, 2 hours have passed by, you realize how that website is a conspiracy to ensure that you never do work.
Step 9: Clean
But then you look around and see that your desk is cluttered. And is that a sock by the couch? Well, now you gotta clean up. ‘Vacuum your floor, clean your desk, or do some other housecleaning because “I write better when my space is clean.”‘ – @BritniDWrites. Yes. She gets it. She’s one of us.
Step 10: Eat and Nap
Houseworks makes you hungry and you really need to be on a full stomach to be productive. So you heat up that bowl of rice. As you eat, you can start thinking of the words you’ll be writing. SEE? Two-in-one. And then you get groggy because good food makes you tired and Itis is real (don’t let nobody tell you different). Besides, rest is what you need to really recharge you so you can write your ass off.
Step 11: Repeat at least 5 steps
You wake up from your nap, which was 2 hours longer than you planned. DAMBIT! But your body musta been really tired and it did what it needed to do. And then you repeat steps 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 until you realize that your deadline is in 4 hours. But by now, it’s 3am and no one else is up to be your distraction excuse.
Step 12: Write.
So you buckle down, sweet talk Microsoft Word, close out your browser (finally. You should have done that after Step 1 but hindsight is 20/20 and you clearly weren’t about that life) and you make sweet sweet verbal love to your keyboard until you finish, re-read and edit with 5 minutes to spare. You hit “send” and fall into your bed in relief.
You did good! You work best under pressure anyway (O___o). You swear that you’ll do better next time. But you know damb well you’re lying like magic carpet. The cycle always begins.
For those writing books or anything that requires chapters, this process can go on for weeks. It’s just a mess. Procrastinators everywhere UNITE! Tomorrow.
So do you get stuck in this web of unproductivity or are you one of those people who just gets it done without distractions? If you are, teach me your ways and we can’t be friends (-___-).
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