Generally, I consider my procrastination to be less “procrastinating” and more “downtime”, which is necessary sometimes.
I mean, a lot of the time.
Anyway, I’ve noticed a pattern in that I procrastinate a lot more when it comes to editing than drafting. I love drafting. For one, I only draft when I’m excited about a story, so it’s much easier to dig into it and keep going. For another–and I think this is a much bigger reason for my lack of procrastination–you can measure your progress in drafting so much easier.
When you draft, it’s all about the words. A thousand a day? Two thousand? Four thousand? Since I’m not the type to go back and edit (unless I get really stuck), this is easy to measure.
When you edit–that’s tougher. In advance, you can’t know how much time and effort a certain edit will take (though the more you edit, the more accurately you can predict this). So how do you measure progress? Number of problems fixed? Number of scenes added? Number of words removed? Number of pages edited? Number of hours put in? It’s much less clear-cut. For someone as addicted to productivity and progress as I am, it makes editing a real chore.
I think another big reason might be the pressure. When you draft, there’s nothing to screw up. You can go all out. You can finally bring your characters to life. It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be there, and you know that when you start writing you’ll come up with all sorts of fantastic new things. It’s exciting. It’s adventure. It’s discovery. If you screw up, no big deal–that’s what edits are for!
And then the edits actually need to happen and you realize–gulp. Now it does need to be good. There’s no more discovery, there’s no more freedom. You have a plan, there’s no room for deviation, and there’s actually a real, tangible book there that you might screw up with these fixes.
So when I’m getting ready to edit something… I tend to drag it out. Oh, I need to do more brainstorming first. Oh, maybe I need to do another readthrough. Oh, I’ll just fix this tiny thing here first. Maybe I should get another beta reader’s opinion before I dig in? And wait, I may need to abruptly switch projects soon, so then it’s really senseless to start on editing now, and oh look, something shiny!
Editing. I fail at it.
All of this is a very long-winded way of saying that one of my delightful CPs OKed my editing ideas for BLINK last night, which means I have no more excuse not to dig into edits. As in, now. Today.
Maybe this post will stop me from procrastinating?
What about you? Any major difference in how you approach drafting vs. editing?