Writing nuanced, fearless, and even unlikeable women protagonists is hard work. So we asked 2018’s #fearlesswomen program authors one of our favorite writing questions, and they told us tales of floof, twitter, and binge-watching.
What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?
I like to cook. Generally speaking, the only good thing about procrastinating is that you can harness the energy required to avoid doing something you really don’t want to do (say, filling out a tax planner) to undertake a slightly less undesirable task (say, scrubbing the bathtub). But in many ways, cooking is the perfect complement to writing. I love words. I love the plasticity of language, I love bringing characters—and entire worlds—to life! And yet, it can be a profound relief to set verbal elements aside to concentrate on an art form that nurtures the body as well as the mind and soul.
Talking to my children.
V. E. Schwab:
I am a master of the productive procrastination—I will happily avoid one task with another. I also love a good Netflix binge. When I first discover a show, I’m terrible at stopping at one episode.
Mary Robinette Kowal:
Napping. I have a very fluffy cat named Sadie who emits a strong nap field. Sometimes, I head to my writing chair, and she jumps up on the nearby sofa with a little mrrrrrp! She stares at me meaningfully, drawing me closer with her floofiness and her chirrups until I succumb and lie down. Then she settles, purring, on my chest with her head on my shoulder. Productivity is doomed.
S. L. Huang:
The most likely way I procrastinate is to get distracted by INTERNET FOREVER!!!! But if I can swing it, my favorite procrastination is to delay doing something I should be doing by still being wildly productive. Like, before I was a published writer, sometimes it would be, “I’m going to procrastinate on this problem set by writing 12,000 words!” (Which worked out rather well for me.) Now that I’m writing professionally, it’s, “I need to write 12,000 words… TIME TO CLEAN THE BATHROOM!”
Ooooh, hard to say, because I have so very, very many. I’m a big fan of vital, time critical chores like cleaning out the pantry/fridge, blowing the dust out of my keyboard and reviewing the 400 tabs I have open on Chrome to check whether I can close any (spoiler: I won’t!).
That’s a hard question, not because I’m having trouble thinking of an answer, but because I’m having trouble picking from the dozens of answers that spring to mind.
If we’re going by sheer insidiousness, the winner is pacing. I tend to pace back and forth when I’m trying to work out a tricky plot snag, or come up with the perfect dialogue. So pacing seems like a productive pursuit, right? Not at all. It takes me away from the screen, and my mind inevitably wanders. Before I know it, I’ve spent an hour pondering the implications of the weak nuclear force on the ability to heal crystals in Steven Universe.
If we’re going by pure potential for time wastyness, however, the winner would have to be social media. Which is unsurprising, since most social media is designed from the ground up to waste as much of your time as possible, and to keep you coming back. For this reason, I forbid myself even a peek at Twitter, Facebook, and et cetera when I’m writing.
K. Arsenault Rivera:
There are so many wonderful way to procrastinate these days. The simplest answer here is that I’m terrible at most video games, so I have to dump a lot of time into them if I want to get good—and I’ve recently gotten into Rainbow Six: Siege. I, uh, have lost a lot of time to learning that you don’t reinforce between sites. I’d like to thank all the people on the Western Europe servers who taught me that lesson with lead.
I love trawling through social media in search of really bad jokes. I love puns, the more groan-worthy the better.
Twitter, drawing, and fountain pens.
Same guys. Same.
Really enjoyed reading this!
This was great! Glad to hear I’m not the only one who scrubs the faucets on the bathroom sink with a toothbrush (not mine) just to avoid doing what I oughta be doing. Which is crazy cause writing is what we love, right? I think it’s a fear of failure that leads to procrastination. Or all writers have a lot of cat in them. Yeah that’s it.
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