Writing the YA Novel and Procrastination

Michael Martchenko  once gave a hilarious and informative presentation at one of our free monthly CANSCAIP meetings in Toronto. He showed numerous photos of himself procrastinating (at the fridge, on the sofa, and back to the kitchen) and I realized:  illustrators do it too. We all do it. Whatever our endeavour, no matter how much we love it, the mind has creative fun sabotaging the work.  I shouldn’t shame myself by disclosing the myriad ways I find to procrastinate but that’s the point of this post. It’s a hard, long slog getting a novel out – even for those of us with a nice pedestal of books that should boost the ego, should cheer us on, and then time passes, and for some reason it’s harder than we hoped. I’m on the fifth revision and fifth year of writing my new novel. As much as I still love my character and story, my ability to resist procrastinating has totally waned over the last few months. I’m not beating myself up over it. It happens. I’ve been on life’s roller coaster. Mother dying. Health issue putting me in a wheelchair. Teaching an intensive novel course at U of T’s fabulous School of Continuing Studies.  The result? Instead of working on my novel during this demanding period as I should have, I went for brain candy: binge watching TV series and playing bridge (the card game).  Need I say, lots of bridge – online, duplicate clubs, friends & neighbours & family, you name it, I was playing bridge.(Do you play bridge? Please don’t let me know.)

One wonderful thing about teaching, however. You can’t stand in front of group of soon-to-be-published writers for an entire week and tell them to keep at it, to set daily and reasonable writing goals, to meet them, to find the time and make the time, to not-give-up. It was impossible for my brain to ignore the message because I believe it. So I’m back at work on the novel this morning. At least I was . . . until my brain whispered . . .  “You haven’t posted for a long time. You really should.”

End of post. Honestly. Back to work.





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