The Procrastination Monster

PJ Sharon here with your Tuesday dose of writerly advice. DON’T PROCRASTINATE! If you’ve got something that needs doing, take a page from “Earl,” and “get-er-done.”

I’m generally not known to be a procrastinator, but when the to-do list becomes a bit…let’s say…unwieldy, it’s easy to let things slide. With my next book, SAVAGE CINDERELLA out this Thursday, I’ve been flat out with last minute details and will readily admit that I’ve dropped a few balls. Things like this blog post, which I am speedily writing at 11:30 P.M. after spending the past four and a half hours with my husband, formatting and uploading my book to the KDP Select program through Amazon (more on that when I guest blog this Saturday at Jennifer Fusco’s MOD site).

Oh, yes. Do you remember me talking last week about Proofreading? You were all so quick to praise me about my process and how diligent I was. Ha! After both my editor and I went through the proof copy yet one more time, I made final edits and uploaded to Create Space yesterday. Tonight, while formatting for Kindle, my husband found an interesting error. I have two chapter twenties. I know! Right? Didn’t I have a similar problem with my first book? How could I miss that again? It’s not like the chapters are duplicated. It’s just the heading “Chapter 20” two chapters in a row. Since my DH found the error, it won’t be in the Kindle version, but there will be fifty copies of the book that have this quirky little detail that will make those rare copies…uh…collectibles.

Speaking of CreateSpace, it usually takes them twenty-four hours to approve my upload and then I can either order another proof, or bypass that step and order copies, which I did. I was informed today that my hardcopies won’t arrive until next Tuesday. I was like…um…noooo. I need them this Thursday. You know—the  15th—release day? Not that anyone is pounding my door down waiting to get their hands on a signed copy, but I expected to have them, and I like to be a woman of my word. It’s not going to happen. Apparently, just because I can get a proof copy in three days, doesn’t mean the final print copies can be done that quickly. Somehow I forgot that minor detail between now and last December when I published my previous book. Sigh…

So it’s down to the wire and I’m waiting to hear back from KDP that all went well with my upload to the select program. I’m anticipating that the book will go live just in time for my release date, but I hate to jinx it by assuming anything at this point. I’ll try to stay positive and remind myself that in the big picture of life, all these details are merely flies in my Chardonnay. I’ve learned to measure everything on a brain tumor scale of life. It keeps me sane and grounded when all hell is breaking loose around me and nothing seems to be going as it should.

As for the Procrastination Monster (the ugly third cousin of the Doubt Monster), he has bitten me in the butt yet again. I’ve missed the submission deadlines for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, which is rolling up on me like a bowling ball on a center pin. I’m hoping someone there will take pity on me and let me submit the things I signed up for. It’s my first time there and I haven’t found their website to be very author friendly or easy to negotiate. Or maybe that’s just me. I’ve had a lot on my plate lately.

How about you guys? Have you been procrastinating? Meaning to send out those queries? Start that exercise program? Please make me feel better and share your latest battle with the Procrastination monster.


21 thoughts on “The Procrastination Monster”

  1. Hi PJ. I hate that you found 2 chapter 20’s after going to print, but, like you said, you have some future collector very happy! “I got a PJ with 2 chapter 20’s! Call the Auction House!” I humbly beg forgiveness for smiling that these things don’t just happen to me 🙂

    As for procrastination, he lives in my office. He and his brother, the Poor Time Management monster, and their cousin, Misplaced Priorities tap dance on my desk while I’m trying to work. All I can do it make another cuppa and try to see the computer screen through their stumpy, hairy little legs. They are entertaining little beasties though…

    Gotta run. One of them is trying to play Spider Solitaire as I type this. Good luck with the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention submissions!

    1. I’m adjusting quite nicely, actually. My internal clock doesn’t seem to notice the change as long as i get my six or sevenhours of quality sleep. Thanks for climbing out from under and stopping in:-)

  2. Two chapter 20s? Nertz. Funny you should be talking about procrastination. I’ve been procrastinating (such an evil-sounding word) on a number of items. Last night I prioritized what needs to get done ASAP, and put “finish preparing income taxes” at the top of the list. My husband is self-employed and I do the returns. Because my day job is in a different state from my residence, I have to do three of them. It isn’t really difficult with today’s tax software, but it is time consuming doing all the organizing and tallying of the receipts and the mileage and all that. So I worked on that last night, and I should be able to finish the returns in the next day or two. That will be a big load off my mind, and should free up some energy. As for the other things I’ve been procrastinating on … how much time have you got? 🙂

    1. Kudos to you for doing them yourself. Mine got very complicated when I became self employed, worked in two states and have two seperate businesses. My accountant LOVES me. I just sent in all of mine last week and it took me two days to organize it all! I keep saying I’m going to get more organized about keeping track of everything, but alas, i have procrastinated on that…hmmm…I’m seeing a pattern.

  3. Procrastination has a first cousin … distraction. As a lifelong member of the ADD squad, commonly known in some circles as “the shiny object syndrome”, it doesn’t take much to pull my train off the tracks. I’m a pantser when it comes to writing, but a plotter when it comes to committing the time I write. Otherwise, I’d never get there.

    1. i totally hear you on the panster/plotter thing. I’m fairly regimented about my time which is why I am generally very productive, but sometimes too much is just too much to manage efficiently. Learning to let go of control, delegate, and to say “no” (even to myself), are the best weapons i have against procrastination.

  4. Paula, I love your post. So, you are human after all. You had me fooled. Two chapter 20s, I would be happy with one. Proof reading, I do know the importance. I learned to read what I write/wrote backwards, good way to check, b/c you can’t read, and those mishaps pop out. I love meeting all these monsters, like the ones that dance on Gregg’s desk. The post is terrific.

    1. Thanks, Gail. As “Perfect Penny” would say, “We humans are so perfectly imperfect.”

      I would bet there aren’t many typos left in SAVAGE CINDERELLA, but when you are reading/proofreading, you rarely notice chapter headings. Apparently I need to hire someone to take care of this task for me. The funny thing is that four different people, including my editor have read through the book–more than once–and no one noticed it. Chapter numbers just don’t seem to register. As Katy Lee reminded me this morning, writers move things around so much during our editing process, that this kind of thing happens a lot.

  5. Don’t stress about RT. It will all work out.

    I myself have learned not to worry about next weeks to-do list. So that makes me a procrastinator, but a planned one. 🙂

  6. Hi Paula! I’ve been procrastinating myself lately. That happens when I’m overwhelmed with how much I have to do. Like now. Plus I’m stressed out with some personal issues and it makes it even harder to concentrate. But I’m trying to push through — even though Greg’s Monster Trio are all over my world right now. I’m taking deep breaths and assuring myself it will all be okay. 🙂

    1. Times of crisis are the PM’s favorite food. Nothing can take our focus away from a task at hand than a personal disaster. Breathing definitely helps! Hang in there!

  7. Procrastinate is my middle name when it comes to going through the piles of papers stacked in laundry bins to be sorted in the garage. Probably all junk but never knowing some important document or keepsake from kids are in there. I need to toss/shred and sort them all. I’m talking about maybe 5 yrs of stuff to go through… sigh… My daughter needs a copy of community service I know I have it somewhere, can you guess? Well, I went trough a bin, estimating the year, calmly sat down and am proud to say got rid of 2 bins of papers! It felt so good, like a weight off my shoulder, but still haven’t found her copy. Maybe this week? I’d rather read a book right now… Yep, procrastinate, my middle name 😉 OK… Fine, lets say I’ll get it done this year, how’s that? This month you say? hmmm…. let me think about it…..

    1. Setting short term goals is a good way to wade through the muck. making them small and manageable (like one pile today), is even better. Sometimes when I’m most bogged down in details, that’s when it seems the best time to take a step back, take a deep breath, and revise my to-do list, narrowing down to just two or three things. Of course that could be just another way to procrastinate. One never knows!

      1. LOL! I know, I excel at the art of teaching others to organize and plan, but when it comes to this kind of “stuff” I cringe and find something else to do and keep putting it off. If I haven’t touched the pile in so long, that tells me I’m not missing it and it all probably just needs to be tossed… OK, now that I have publicly confessed this to you, I will promise to get rid of all the stuff and clean the garage, little by little, in fact I’ll start now…. one box, well…this afternoon for sure. Procrastination: Like the song says… It’s a hard habit to break. ;D
        BTW, my girls closet makeover, still perfect after a month!

    1. Procrastination is inherently a fear of failure (what will others think of me?) and fear of success (if i do this, more will be expected of me.) If we can just understand the idea that the failure is only in NOT doing something, maybe we can get past the fear part and start attacking those to-dos with less trepidation. Once I got over the fear of success, a lot of things started to change for me in my life. Yes, it means I have added responsibilities, but it also means that I’m living my life to the fullest and without fear! It’s all good!

  8. I go from being insanely motivated to totally lazy. I’ve learned to live with it as best I can. But sometimes I do have to light a fire under my fanny. I find that unless I’m really busy, I procrastinate. So if I have time off, I actually get less done. Go figure.

    1. I think we’re all like that to some degree. No one can go full tilt all the time. We need those “lazy” breaks to give ourselves a chance to breathe. When we’re busy, we are forced to be more efficient. The trick is in knowing where the tipping point is. Such a delicate balance!

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