“Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder.” ~ Mason Cooley
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” ~ Pablo Picasso
I’ve never thought of myself as a big procrastinator, but recently I’ve had to acknowledge that I have been procrastinating for the last few months on my second novel.
This same thing happened to me when I was writing my first novel, The Space Between Time. I came to a place in the story where I got stuck. Something was nagging at the outer edges of my mind, but I couldn’t quite grasp it. At first I reread what I’d already written over and over, revised, and eventually set the book aside to work on other projects. The story was still alive and percolating on the back burner of my mind. But the story hadn’t matured quite yet.
That’s where I’ve been with the sequel novel, Time’s Echo for quite some time. It’s frustrating because the subject matter is very relevant to what’s happening right now with the women’s movement. I want to get it finished, and yet … I have to acknowledge I’m not sure where the story wants to end up. I also feel like maybe the story will be shallow if I push it through to publication. And I have a bit of self-doubt. Do I have what it takes to write this storyline?
There is another aspect to the almost complete shut down of this novel. I’m a recovering people pleaser. I struggle with putting other people’s needs before my own.
This fall a writer friend of mine suffered some serious health issues and is now in a care center. She won’t have to be there forever, but she’s obviously depressed. I wanted to make her feel better, so when I told her I was working on the audiobook of my novel, she brightened up and asked if I would be willing to do the audio version of a middle grade novel she had written titled, The Dragon’s Gold. I loved the book, so, of course, I said yes without thinking of the consequences. I could have asked her to wait until I’d finished my own book, but I wanted to pay her back for all she has done for me, so I suggested recording a couple of sample chapters and that was it, what I was working on went by the wayside.
Doing an audiobook is very time consuming. I had only begun to learn how to do the recording and editing process, but I wasn’t proficient quite yet. Her project became my lab experiment. It took me a little over two months to complete the nearly 250 page novel. And, once I had put my novel plans on hold, other projects swept in to take up my time.
The Dragon’s Gold is now in my friend’s hands to approve, and I’ve come to my senses. I need to make myself and the things I’m working on the highest priority. I need to stop procrastinating, rest and fill up my own well. If I don’t I won’t be of any use to myself, or anyone else.
The thing I’m learning about procrastination is that once I’ve decided to go back to my various ventures, it’s hard to get the momentum back. However, I am relieved by something my sister said recently when we were talking about this. She’d heard an interview with Ken Follett, in which he said that it takes him a long time to write his novels partly because they are so dense. They take place over many years, there are lots of characters, and a lot things happen to them during the course of the book. That made me feel better because The Space Between Time was a little bit like that and Time’s Echo is likely to be the same. They don’t take place over as many years as Follett’s books, but my characters do go through tribulations that cause them to grow. As my writer friend I just did the audiobook for once said, “You can’t rush your characters through their process. If you beat them up a bit, the reader feels more satisfied at the end when the characters learn their lessons.”
As an empath, I shy away from beating up my characters. That might be part of my procrastination as well. I know I need to create drama for them, but man it’s difficult to feel their pain and write it down so the reader does too. But that’s my job, and I need to do it. However,I guess I can’t rush the writing process either.
I’ll let you know how that’s going. No more taking on other people’s stuff until I’m on a better footing with my own.
Thanks for reading, liking, commenting, and for the reblog of one of my recent posts. Have a fun weekend and stay warm if you’re expecting winter storms.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back and apply what she’s learned to her real life situations.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.