Monday, November 23, 2015

20 Things to Do INSTEAD of Working on Your Novel: A Complete Guide to Procrastination (and gifs, because, gifs)

Just in case you didn't know:
It is November 23.
I'm not ready to part from 2015, people.

Thanksgiving is on Thursday. And NaNoWriMo is over in one week. I have not yet reached the 30K mark.
I am finally sitting somewhere that is A. Not work, or B. Not a car, so I really have no excuse for not writing. But if you're like me, and you're looking for reasons to procrastinate, here are some tips from a Master* (Note: I have tried every single one of these, and they are guaranteed to work)

1. Write a Blog Post

You sit down, flex those writing fingers, turn on some music to set the mood, and . . . you can't remember what you were writing. It's all gone. Your plot, your characters, what are words? Before you panic, you can always stretch that writer's brain by writing a blog post. You'll end up with a page full of writing, and feel a sense of achievement. So maybe none of it was your novel, but you did something productive! Give yourself a pat on the back, writer.

2. Read a Book, or Three

It's American Thanksgiving this week - which might mean a day or two off from work! Time for food and family, or even writing . . . or you could just read one of those delightful shiny books that are already written for you! Imagine that?

3. Go to a Book Event

If you are feeling down about your book, I highly recommend going to watch another author talk about how wonderful it was to see their book in print. I had the (incredible) privilege of going to the final event of Marissa Meyer's Winter Tour** - and it was so much fun! Hearing her talk about her books and her characters made me want to write, and I really would have - if I hadn't had to drive home!

4. Go on a Roadtrip

Whether it's books on tape, or just a playlist of your favorite writing tracks, you can think about your book a lot if you have to spend several hours in the car. Or you could just listen to 4 straight hours of K-pop for no apparent reason.*** I did one of those things while I drove down to Tennessee on Sunday.

5. Go Outside and Enjoy the Bizarre November Sunshine****

 

There's nothing like a little fresh air to jumpstart that creative writer's brain. Go walk outside and talk over your plot problems with a bosom friend. You may not get anything on paper, but you'll feel refreshed.

6. Watch Death Note

Death Note was an anime I never watched, but heard a ton about. Mostly about how incredible it was. So, naturally, I ignored it. But when I was too tired to write, I started watching Death Note instead, entirely on a whim. From the fascinating moral quandaries, to the great plotting and pacing, it's one of the most interesting distractions I've ever come across. And it inspired some great discussions!

7. Work on Christmas Presents

I don't decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving - but since I like to make handmade Christmas presents, I usually start those a few months in advance. Or at least, I try to. But I take it a little more seriously by November. And just look at all those half-finished projects you could be doing!

8. Take a Nap

Snoopy has it right. Sometimes you just need to curl up and take a nap. Scientists and other knowledgeable people also recommend it. And who argues with Snoopy and science?

9. Go Grocery Shopping

After three weeks of NaNo-ing hard, that pantry and fridge are starting to look bare. And as much as you love instant ramen, it isn't the healthiest choice. An no one needs to subsist on tea alone.

10. Sort All Those Emails Sitting In Your Inbox

And consider unsubscribing to the 2.5 thousand newsletters that are trying to get you to buy things.


11. Cook a Gourmet Meal

Remember #9 had you at the store? Well, there were a lot of Thanksgiving sales, and now you have too many ingredients. Google is your friend: just type in what you have, and then make something awesome.

11. Wash the Dishes

Trust me, you'll feel better if you have a clean working environment. Even if you're not writing in the kitchen. Just because you can't see the pile of dishes, it doesn't mean they're not there.

12. Scroll Through Your Twitter Feed

#amwriting #NaNoWriMo #noamrlywritingsrsly #stahp . . .

13. Or If You're Not Into Twitter, There's Instagram

Looking at everyone's vacation photos, food snaps, or book hauls strategically placed to look incredible, might make you feel like writing about your own far off adventure?

14. Facebook? Tumblr?

Hey, you never know where an idea might come from.

15. Let's Not Forget Pinterest

Because sometimes, pinning pictures to my book themed boards ACTUALLY helps. As long as I don't get too distracted . . .

16. And Catching Up On Your Favorite Blogs is Always a Good Idea

Writer-bloggers usually have something very useful for you to read.

17. Work

I can't write at work. However, I am off of work today. But there's a lot of other kinds of work that I need to finish (reviews with a deadline, for example). I need to do these things. Really.

18. Play a Board Game

It's good for your brain. And it's something you can do with your relatives, if you're at a loss this week.

19. Research

This is a very useful thing to do, and it always makes you seem so studious and focused. So if you sit down to write, and nothing happens - you can always look up that rare strain of bacteria. Just don't blame me if after five hours of research, you're reading about someone's scheme to rehydrate deserts.

20. Write a Different Novel

Because words on the page are words on the page. Even if they aren't on the same page.

Need more ideas? Too bad - I'm going back to writing my novel, :)

How is your November going? If you're doing NaNo, how is your word count?

Footnotes:
*Not to brag, or anything, but I am really good at procrastinating.
**The book event was masquerade ball themed! It was worth missing two days of writing. And Marissa Meyer was fabulous to listen to :) (Author of The Lunar Chronicles)
***To be honest, I don't even know how we ended up with the K-pop. I've never really listened to it before. Okay, other than this Shinhwa song/video. But it's strangely mesmerizing.
****Bizarre for Michigan. Michigan November usually means pouring rain, and then loads of snow, or both. So I wanted to spend as much time outside as possible.