Why Writers Procrastinate

I think about Tim Urban’s Instant Gratification Monkey pretty regularly.



If you’ve never read “Why Procrastinators Procrastinate,” you should. At the end, there’s a Part Two, but I’m not going to link to it here because you need to read Part One first.

Tim also has a TED talk, but if you’ve got 15 minutes, I recommend reading his two posts instead—they go into it a little deeper, in my opinion.

But if you can only listen and not read, here it is:


50,000 Words!

No, I haven’t written 50,000 words yet. NaNoWriMo hasn’t even started (it starts TOMORROW)!

But if you are a fellow NaNo, you might be wondering how on earth you can write 50,000 words in 30 days. I know I am.


NaNoWriMo suggests writing 1,667 words per day for 30 days.

If you are a human being, like myself, and not a machine, it might be difficult to have a daily goal. That’s why I’m going with a weekly goal, with two days off for Thanksgiving. Here’s my plan:

Write 50,000 words in 4 weeks.

November 1–7, write 12,500 words.

November 8–14, write 12,500 more words (total 25,000 words)

November 15-21, write 12,500 more words (total 37,500 words)

November 22-23, celebrate Thanksgiving and maybe even hit the shops on Black Friday (or wake up at 3 am and write, making up for a low word count)

November 24-30, write your final 12,500 words (total 50,000 words)

If you want to take weekends off, write 2,500 words per day, 5 times per week.

Since the NaNoWriMo week starts on Thursdays this year, here’s my ambitious plan that will likely not come into fruition.

The unlikely-to-happen Plan

November 1,2, 3: Write 5,000-7,500 words total

November 4: Take day off

November 5, 6, 7: Write 5,000-7,500 words to bring weekly total to 12,500

November 8-14, 15-21: Repeat pattern above 2x

November 22-23: Take Thanksgiving off from writing (but maybe do some final plotting and planning)

November 24: 2,500 words

November 25: See if I’m up to writing 2,500 words.

November 26-30: Write up to the 50,000 words.

Deep breath before the plunge

Take a few moments today to completely forget about what you signed up for and are getting yourself into.

Didn’t work? Okay, then distract yourself by creating a desktop wallpaper for your computer with your own wordcount goals, including some images that will inspire you as you work. I’m thinking of creating one with all my “cast members” (famous or interesting-looking people that fit my mind’s image of the characters). Though I won’t likely do it today—I’ll probably do it one of the days I am experiencing some writer’s fog.

The last year I did NaNo, I took a pastoral picture of a castle and pasted my word count goals on to that for my wallpaper. If you are doing a historical novel like me, perhaps you can make a wallpaper collage of historically-accurate source images, like costumes of the era. Be creative!

See you on the other side—in November!


Musical Motivation: Playlists

Last week I asked if you wanted any other sizes for the “Write Now” posters. Here’s the template for 960×640 resolutions (iPhone). Right click the button below and “save as.” Remember, it’s all white, so it might look invisible if you click the button. Place over the image of your choice.

Here’s an image I created using the template above, as well as a black version. Download either for your phone home screen as a constant reminder.

Back to regular programming

I hope you’ve thought about what kind of music you listen to whilst writing, for now is the time to share! Here’s how you’ll do it:

What’s your playlist? The playlist you listen to while writing, or any list of songs that get you to write. Describe the mood of the playlist

What’s your genre? The genre you write most frequently, or the genre you are currently writing under. If you write straight up fiction, include the mood. How serious or goofy is your work?

What’s your theme song? This is the theme song for your WIP. It’s the song that would be in the trailer head up the soundtrack of the film version.

Leave a comment with your answers. You can add links if you’d like. I monitor my comments, so I’ll do my part to exterminate any spam.

Pssst…If you’re a writer blogger person, feel free to ask your readers the same questions on your blog, but please link back to this post so that my readers can read your post, too! Everybody gets more playlists that way 🙂

Answers de Lara

Mix: If my love life were made into a movie, Love Music would be the soundtrack. It’s a musical bildungsroman, covering little girl romance to married life. Most of the songs are by indie artists, so there’s a bit of whimsy or fantasy to them.

Genre: My current WIP is a time-traveling historical fantasy. I like to refer to it as “mainstream fantasy” because it’s historical fiction with elements of fantasy and science fiction. Like the playlist above, it’s fun and whimsical. The second book in the series has some more action and sci-fi elements to it. I’ll probably listen to the TRON soundtrack while writing that one.

Theme song: The theme song for my current work would be the oldie-but-goodie “Starlight” by Muse. Video is below, with a low picture quality, unfortunately. [Rated G]*

Want to know the videos I used in today’s image? Here you go. I can’t stop listening to these songs.

“We Are Young” by Fun. [PG—V]*

“Blue Jeans” by Lana Del Rey [PG-13—S,V]*

“Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye [PG—N]*

*Note: As a courtesy for my readers, sometimes I’ll include “ratings” for external links. This includes an age rating [G, PG, PG-13, R] and codes for profane language [L], violence [V], nudity [N], or sexual themes [S]. You don’t need to rate any links in your comments, but please let us know if any music or videos you link to are NFSW (not safe for work).

Write now.

Motivation Monday: WRITE NOW posters

Today on Motivation Monday, I am bringing you a choice of a ton of posters that tell you to write. Now.

Well, would you look at that! A nice, big image perfect for pinning on Pinterest! (Oh yes I did.)

I’ve got romance-y images, plain posters, international patterns, grungy textures, a flower my brother colored when he was 5, writing images (that’s a typewriter), a color-your-own outline…

It’s a PDF, in case you were wondering.

Pick which one inspires you the most, and print off that page. Or print them all off and give them to friends. Distribute these as you please, just don’t make it seem like you made the original, since you didn’t. We are all creative-types. Let’s be honest ones.

Speaking of creative types, if you DO want to make your own, I’m going to give you a PNG that you can place over any image to make your very own WRITE NOW poster.

Above is the one with outlines. Click it, and it will take you to the full sized image, which you can download and keep.

If you want one without outlines, click in the middle of the white space above. It’s white, on the white background of my blog, so you can’t see it, but it’s there. Just like the wind, or Jesus. Click, and then you’ll get the full sized image.

Place on top of a picture or texture of your choice, and your image will make the words “Write Now.”

These are all for letter-sized sheets. If you’d like a different size, comment below (4 to a page? Business card size? 5×7? 4×6?). If somebody agrees with you, I’ll get you different sizes on another Monday. Hope that’s cool. Hope you’re inspired or motivated.

Next week I’ll be asking you about what music you listen to whilst writing. Think about it now, and get ready to share next Monday. I can’t promise to update on Wednesday this week, but I will certainly be posting printable plotting worksheets on Friday.

Update: go to next week’s Monday motivation post to download the mobile phone version of the Write Now poster.