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Jessica Bell

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Beware the Procrastination Demons – Fenella Miller

Beware the Procrastination Demons

Procrastination is something I’m very good at – in fact I think there are many writers who consider themselves an expert in this field. Finding something else to do instead of getting on with writing your book is so easy nowadays.

Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads, Linked in –are just four of the demons waiting to pounce on the

unwary writer. Even if you are strong willed enough to ignore the siren call of these four then you still have to open and read your e-mails every morning. By the time you have answered these an hour might have gone by. Unfortunately there might well be messages from Facebook and Twitter telling you friends have birthdays, or that they have mentioned you in a comment – of course you can’t ignore these. Another hour will have been wasted because once you’re on Facebook or Twitter it’s impossible not to read and respond to the other comments.

Then there are the various loops that a writer belongs to – I am a member of at least six – but only two I read in their entirety, but it still takes up valuable writing time.

Don’t forget a writer must check their Amazon sales/rankings/royalties and reviews –how can we know whether we need to do more promotion of social media if we don’t keep an eye on things?

Now we come to the dreaded blogs and websites – I am a member of three which require a post every month and, being a historical, they usually need to be on something historical which requires time and research to prepare. I also have my own blog upon which I try to put at least three posts per month and these can’t always the rabbiting on about my latest book – some of them require careful planning and thought. There are also the blogs written for book promotional tours and guest blogs.

Often a writer gives talks at Women’s Institute and other meetings – these have to be prepared and everyone expects a high-tech PowerPoint presentation nowadays. They could, like me, be a professional reviewer which requires not only writing a review but reading the book in detail.

I think you’re getting the picture now – a writer can legitimately procrastinate and tell themselves they are not actually wasting any time but doing valuable social media work. The jury is out on how valuable social media is in raising an author’s profile and increasing their book sales.

For me the worst procrastination demon is cricket – not a sport played in the US – for those uninitiated it’s a team game requiring the eleven players on each side and two umpires. A match can last anything from four hours to five days. Basically two men from one of the teams try to hit a small, hard ball as far as they can then dash up and down scoring runs, whilst the fielding team try to prevent this. I expect you’ve all gone to sleep by now so I will desist from trying to explain why I am obsessed with this peculiarly English game. The last international for the summer has just been played so until the overseas tour starts in November I shall have no excuse for procrastinating.

The best advice I can give any writer is to put your backside on your seat and write. Don’t get up until you have completed your quota for the day. When this is done, and only when this is done, connect to the Internet and spend as long as you want on all the time wasting and very enjoyable social media activities.

I wish I was able to follow my own advice.


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Genre – Historical fiction

Rating – PG

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