I admit to being a world-class procrastinator. Having lived that way most of my life, it is probably too late to change. I successfully procrastinated my way through high school and, many years after, college, summa cum laude.
Having never been a disciplined scheduler, I use my non-writing time for inspiration. I love to write, but sitting in front of a screen for hours when I’m not ready does not work for me. A friend tries to write 2000 words every single day. She says she doesn’t want to get out of the habit, even if many of her words are thrown out. I admire her for that, I really do. I doubt that I could do it, unless I were being paid for each word.
In college, I wrote essays, critiques, and theses with comparative ease. At least, it appeared so to my peers, who stressed over the required length and due date of each paper.
However, my method of madness worked for me. My secret is this: When I’m not actually writing, I think about different approaches and paths to take. I draw inspiration from many things: people in my life, places I’ve been to or want to go to, encounters in my past or books I’ve read. Then, when I’m ready, I sit down and let the words flow, editing as I go.
Having taught creative writing, I know that the conventional wisdom is to let the words flow and then, begin the editing process. That is the way I taught high school students, especially those who struggled with the concept of putting words on paper. Giving the freedom of not worrying about grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc., opens pathways to creativity. However, for myself, I cannot allow typos, run-ons, or misused words to exist for very long. As a former copyeditor/proofreader, it goes against my very nature. Recently, I quit reading a book that I liked because it was not properly edited. I know, I know! My friends say I am a bit obsessed.
Not everyone processes information or gains inspiration the same way. My point is that a writer should be free to do what works the best for the individual. Hundreds of “Learn to Write” books are in the marketplace, and they give great advice. But the best way to write is to follow your own inspirations, from wherever they come.
And don’t procrastinate for too long!
By Michele Potter
OMP Admin Note: Michele Potter is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues.
Michele is an incredibly diverse and talented writer who I hope will collect her short stories and make them available on Amazon someday soon. In the meantime her story PERCEPTIONS is available in the guest author section of the flash fiction antholgy BITE SIZE STORIES VOLUME ONE.