How to Procrastinate #MagicXMayhem Style - Tor/Forge Blog

How to Procrastinate #MagicXMayhem Style

Writers of the world RELATE because we’re talking procrastination. There’s no end to the distractions from writing, but everyone needs a break sometimes. All work no play does something that is undesirable (we’ve heard). So we sat down our Magic X Mayhem authors (Actually we sent them emails–they may have been sitting?) and asked about their favorite distractions from writing and editing the work we love so much.

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate when you should be writing?

(We promise not to tell your editor)


Andrew Bannister, author of Iron Gods

I am a world-class procrastinator. I’m so good that I don’t actually have to do anything active. I can procrastinate while sitting still. I can procrastinate while simply breathing. But that said, listening to records is a favourite, as anyone who seeks me out on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter will quickly discover.

Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars

Right now, as I’m writing this, I’m on book tour, so the way I’m procrastinating is by collapsing onto my hotel bed, watching old episodes of Chopped, and eating as many Chees-Its as I can fit into my face. When I’m at home, I like to procrastinate by cleaning and coming up with elaborate recipes to try out. You know I’m on a tight deadline if I’m scrubbing the baseboards or googling ‘where to buy lamb tongue’.

Max Gladstone, author of Empress of Forever

Category error! Writing is a way to procrastinate from the rest of life.

Cate Glass, author of An Illusion of Thieves

opens in a new windowSmall scale? Spider solitaire is excellent for clearing the mind of the modern and mundane before diving into a difficult scene. Or large scale? Binge-watching four seasons of Lucifer in three nights is necessary in order to study the story and character arcs and experience the rising tension to remember what I’m striving for, even if it means staying up far too late…


Duncan Hamilton, author of Dragonslayer

It’s not procrastinating, it’s ideating!

Saad Z. Hossain, author of The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday

I game for hours at night, often with a crew of three or four friends. We live in different countries, so gaming together, talking shit is a priceless way of keeping touch. Right now we are playing Red Dead Redemption 2 online. It’s a cowboy game, we spend a lot of time hunting, fishing, and hogtying random people. Not sure this is procrastination though. My view is that during downtime, your brain is still trying to process the story. Whenever you actually put down something on paper, I don’t know it’s like a quantum event almost, all those other possibilities just seem to die and you can’t get them back even if you go for rewrites or edits or whatever. So sometimes procrastination is good, it’s healthy. I look like I’m not doing anything but in reality… ok fine I’m not doing anything.

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S.L. Huang, author of Null Set

Beating people up on the mat! (Or getting beaten up.) It’s okay, you can tell my editor—she does it too!

Tamsyn Muir, author of Gideon the Ninth

I play Donkey Kong Country on the SNES, because I am so unbelievably bad at Donkey Kong Country that after ten minutes I am more than ready to switch to something that I am more competent at than playing Donkey Kong Country, which is anything else.

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Brian Naslund, author of Blood of an Exile:

I have a low-key addiction to reading “Today I Learned” facts on Reddit and going down Wikipedia rabbit holes about obscure animal behavior that could potentially be applied to dragons down the road.
I also have a bird feeder right outside the window by my desk, so I am definitely guilty of getting stuck with a scene, and spending 20 minutes looking at chickadees, which rarely helps solve the problem.

JY Yang, author of The Ascent to Godhood

I’m pretty sure he [my editor] knows anyway, he sees me posting about it on Twitter. My favourite way to procrastinate is some kind of eldritch combination between Tumblr, Instagram, and making art.


Stay tuned for more #magicXmayhem all summer long!


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