Pro·cras·ti·nate – to put off intentionally and habitually, to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done. Latin procrastinatus, past participle of procrastinare, frompro- forward + crastinus of tomorrow, from cras tomorrow.
Now that my epic revision of Poppies is done, I’ve taken some time to reflect on the experience. I started the revision process late January. I finished mid-March. The eight-ish weeks I worked on Poppies felt something like this:
Fiddle around, long run, piddle around, think, think, think, accomplish mundane task that doesn’t matter, think, think, think, piddle some more, long run, more piddling, mundane task, think, think, think, long run, fiddle a lot, think, think think… REVISE! REVISE! REVISE!
You might notice that once the active revising started, I was in it to win it. Truly. Everything but necessary humanly functions and occasional time with my family fell to the wayside. All I could think about was Poppies, and it was an exhilarating, industrious, glorious feeling.
But, it took me forever to get there. I was an expert procrastinator. I spent an unhealthy amount of time on Pinterest. I read a lot. I ate a lot. I organized my husband’s dresser drawers by color, lining each t-shirt up in a graduated rainbow fashion (no, he was not nearly as impressed as I’d hoped he’d be). Now, the whole time I was procrastinating, I was thinking about what I needed to do to revise my manuscript, but I still carried a pit of guilt in my stomach because I wasn’t actually doing anything. I should be working, I thought constantly. Why can’t I get going on this revision?!
It comes down to this: I wasn’t mentally ready, and my subconscious knew it.
Oh, I was on-board with the revision and all the changes it would entail. I could see how it would improve my story, and I was truly excited about it. I really like revising, upping the stakes, fleshing out characters, cutting and adding and pondering scene endings and word choices. I like bouncing ideas off my CPs and my agent, and I like checking revision notes from my To-Do list as I complete them.
But this revision was big and had multiple layers of change and, to be perfectly honest, it was SCARY. I wasn’t sure if I was capable of pulling it off and, initially, I wasn’t even sure how I’d attempt it.
So, I procrastinated like a champ.
Turns out, though, that all my procrastinating may not have been such a bad thing. It gave me ample time to think and muse and contemplate and brood. It let me work out all the psychological road blocks I was dealing with, and it gave me a chance to get ready, to truly embrace the changes that needed to be made. And you know what? Once I got to That Place, I was a revision tornado, whipping through my manuscript with unmatched enthusiasm. And, it was FUN.
Tell me: Are you a procrastinator?