Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beating Procrastination, Line-Edit Style

Unrelated side note: Lookit! I finally figured out how to put those tabby-things at the top of my blog! I feel so official! What do you guys think of them? Is there anything else you'd like to see up there?

So I'm getting beta comments back, and after the lovely rush of jumping up and down in my desk chair, grinning like an idiot and saying "they liked it, they liked it!!" to myself over and over comes the far more boring part: going through and making all those changes.

I'm sure many of you have felt the same - sometimes, editing is REALLY BORING. Sure, it can be really fun to rework things and get to write new scenes to replace old ones that didn't quite work out. I had a lot of fun with that earlier, cracking open the last draft to pull some things out and put new things in and shift a couple of things around.

But the kind of editing I'm doing right now is deadly dull. The kind where I have to go through and make sure my characters don't smirk as much as they originally did, or fix an awkwardly constructed sentence, or make sure that the timeline matches up like it should and isn't completely screwy due to earlier changes.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time yesterday procrastinating. I was reading, I was scrolling around on Tumblr, I was checking Twitter every four seconds - anything to keep from actually getting work done. But finally I just put on some Doctor Who and made myself keep working, and I got about halfway through the manuscript.

If you guys are anything like me, you need to pull out the big anti-procrastination guns to get through line edits. That's why I like writing or editing with a movie or tv show on - I can get built in breaks. If I'm watching something I've already seen a zillion times, like Lord of the Rings or Pride and Prejudice or Doctor Who, I can put it on just as a soundtrack and not actually need to pay attention to it. But at the same time, there are favorite moments where I'm going to stop writing and watch. I'm going to watch Eowyn kill the Witchking. I'm going to watch that moment where Lizzy rescues Darcy's sister from awkwardness and they share a LOOK across the room. I'm going to watch the bit where the Doctor's being possessed by Cassandra and says that he's "a little bit foxy."

I find I can focus on even the boring stuff like line edits if I know that I'm going to have a chance to procrastinate every so often. I can trick my brain into paying attention by waving the treat of watching for a few minutes in front of it.

How about you guys? What are your tricks for beating procrastination? Do you turn off the internet (I can't do that; I handle it the same way by telling myself I can check my email AFTER I write something substantial)? Do you work in complete silence?


  1. I always have music on. I make soundtracks for my various stories and I make soundtracks for various general situations -- fight scenes, romance, happy, sad, etc.

    I am hugely into rewarding myself. New books, tech gadgets, lunch or dinner at a favorite restaurant... Whatever it takes to get what needs doing done.

    I also break my work down into sections so that I do not feel like I am working at climbing a mountain rather then a hill. Chapter by chapter, or scene by scene. Yet again, whatever it takes.

  2. Most of the time I listen to music. When I'm not, I use rewards. The last time I worked on line edits, I watched a vlogbrothers video after every five pages. It gave my brain time to be recharged before I moved on.

    I wish I could watch Doctor Who while I worked. I've tried and I always end up spending more time watching and less time working.