I like to think some procrastination is productive. Actually, Stephen King recommends putting your manuscript away for 6 months so when you pull the dusty, overworked thing back out into the light of day, you’re looking at it with the fresh eyes. One can also call this “put-it-away-in-a-drawer” a massive homage to procrastination, but I believe Stephen King. Don’t you?
On the other hand, I see that often we do little things to procrastinate that really move ancillary projects forward. Grocery shopping in the middle of a writing project does help to gather food in the house that will sustain life. Going out to a movie almost counts. Popcorn definitely makes you think more clearly and the movie feeds your creative muse!
Seriously, taking a walk to think about one’s horribly knotty problem of the day, whether it’s solving a character’s graceful exit or having some other character perform an unplanned exit for them is often productive. Working on bills to break from an assignment is often necessary to gain distance and perspective. Plus it gets the bills paid, which is productive.
Then there’s the procrastination that accompanies your plain unfamiliarity with the task at hand. Ignorance brings us all to face to face with our favorite distractions. The learning mountain seems insurmountable. Your ability to reach ‘base camp’ appears to be impossible. The refrigerator is your best friend. TV, a temptress. Sleep, a seducer.
Ah… but there’s a cure. The only cure. Ease into it though. Promise that you have 10 minutes more to “procrastinate.” Then jump in. Start. Begin. Commence. Flail and fume and fuss all the way. But when it’s time, it’s time. Go. Do.