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Friday, November 19, 2010

Writing Prompt 11/19/10: Procrastination Queen

By Marilyn Friedman

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Writing Prompt: Make a list of 5 things that you do to procrastinate. What do you do instead of writing? Pick one or several procrastination techniques off of your list. Write about it (or them) for 10 minutes in any form that you like: a letter, a scene, a poem, a rant, etc. Exaggerate the procrastination technique, take time to describe it in excruciating detail. You can start your piece with the words, “I admit it . . .” Then post the results of your 10 minute write in the comments of this blog!

For instance, my list could be: wash the dishes, pluck my eyebrows, talk on the phone, check Facebook. watch The Tudors. I could start my piece with, “I admit it, I like to watch the Tudors instead of working on my book project.” Stay tuned for my post!

Comment on this blog! What do you do to procrastinate? Write about it for 10 minutes. If you post your write in the comments, you will get free likes and remembers from Marilyn, and you could win a free class at Writing Pad!


Jordan Rockwell said...

The Sensitive Nice Guy’s Guide to Procrastinating:

1) Surf the Net: God almighty, I should be working on my novel, but the sirens of the world wide web call my name. I tell myself, I’ll just hit facebook and the IMDB for a few minutes, but before I know it, I’ll find something else that I just NEED to look at. The truth is, however, I don’t need to look at anything. I only need to fix my novel. Because I need to make a living.

2) Household Chores: I know, I’ll unpack my groceries, then I’ll revise my novel. I’ll vacuum and dust, then I’ll revise my novel. I’ll clean out the cat box, then I’ll revise my novel. This one is tough because all of those things are necessary. The trick is to set a time limit, I suppose, only 1 hour for chores per day. I guess I need to get married and have kids so that they can do all these things for me while I bring home the bacon.

3) Go to the Gym: Another tough one, because I have to stay in shape. Also, I just NEED to go to Equinox and stare at all the hot chicks while I slave away at the treadmill.

4) Go out with Girls: Again, the Sensitive Nice Guy is looking for Mrs. Sensitive Nice Gal!

5) The Idiot Box: Television. The evil demon. You’d think the invention of Tivo and Netflix would have done the job of removing “appointment television” from our lives, but alas, no.

Writing Pad said...


Thanks for commenting! This list is hilarious and beautifully formatted too! I'm impressed! I love the paragraph on Household chores, how you used repetition and were so specific about which chores that your narrator uses to procrastinate (unpack the groceries, clean out the cat box, vacuum and dust). I also really love that TV is called an evil demon! Great job!


Writing Pad said...

Facebook: The Black Hole of Time

I am sucked up into you
like a tapioca ball in a straw
in a Honeydew Boba drink,
I tell myself that I will only visit
you for five minutes to post
for business, but then I drown
in your sea of clicks, likes, and banter
about poop, I cartwheel through a swirling tunnel of clever quips. This world is not real,
I do not taste the virtual, salted caramel cupcake that Mark gave me, I learn
about Nan's divorce, the Bulgogi pizza
Ted ate for dinner, the lint Jane found
in her belly button, but there's no
human contact, no wheezy sounds
of laughter, no salty tears plopping
down her cheek into my hand. But here
I am, emptying my bank of time
like I'm on an urgent shopping spree,
baring my soul to 350 friends who I do
not see or touch, reliving high school
when no one responds, searching for exes,
feeling pukey when I see them stare
back at me on the book of faces, that evil,
time chomping monster, you make me an information sharing slut! My husband
yells, why don't you just pick up the phone,
but there are no more minutes left, I've frittered
them away sifting through my niece's photo
album so I can show you what her new boyfriend looks like when I could have just
sent her an email and asked for a picture
or called her and had a conversation, but I'll
be back here before lunch, when I'm bored
and should be balancing the books,
or when I should be finishing my book
because I'm writing it, in one line posts,
no I'm not! We all know what you are
you damned FB, you are fucking bad,
a farting boobhead, fried brains
for lunch, for life, for the love of G-d!


Eamonn said...

Timer set. Ten.
Procrastinating... hmm that is a delicious word. It evokes in my mind, sheets. Long lazy mornings wasted in bed. Daydreaming the morning away with visions of grandeur for my life and a hopeful pre-coffee glimpse of the day ahead. That's one.

Number two. The park. Whenever I have very important things to do such as oh fulfill my life's ambition of writing a novel. I like to waste hours and I mean hours wandering around the hills of Los Angeles. This activity is called hiking but I like to think of it as wandering.

Now onto three and much less poetic and sweet as the first two. Online shopping. Let's just leave that one up to speculation and on-going personal debt.

Four. Talking and texting. I like nothing better to drag my friends and family along for a ride down this sad trail; Let's discuss my life in minute detail but never actually do anything about it.

And down to the wire with number five. Drink lots of caffeine with the belief that this will be the day; full of productivity, creativity and usefulness. Only to have yourself spin out in a self-induced anxiety-ridden shame hole. Where you find yourself making list of everything that you need to be doing rather than actually accomplishing one bloody thing.

Cheers. I hope I can win a class, sounds fun and currently I am broke (see number three).

Karen said...

Let’s see…what did I do in the past 10 minutes instead of writing about procrastination?

1. Checked Facebook and noticed that one of my FB friends from high school has a FB friend named Julia. I wonder if that is the same Julia who was one year behind us in school. I check her profile pictures. She only has pictures of her kids, so I can’t tell. No big loss…I didn’t like her that much when we were in high school.
2. Played around with different fonts for the draft of this post.
3. Did the dishes, even though there were only 3 items in the sink.
4. Danced around to Janet Jackson’s “The Pleasure Principle” after I did the dishes. It just happened to be playing on the kitchen radio.
5. Took the remaining groceries out of the reusable shopping bags and put the bags back in the trunk of my car. It’s funny…that is one thing that I usually procrastinate and then I remember that I have no bags in my car when I get to the store and end up buying more reusable bags because I feel guilty about using plastic ones.
6. Made myself a small bowl of the soup that is simmering on the stove. I need to check to see if it is cooked yet.
7. It’s cooked. I help myself to another small taste.
8. Looked at my checkbook register to see how much money I have. That’s always a good thing to do, especially before I head 20 miles down to Long Beach to buy a case of my favorite gravy mix…the one that is only sold at one gourmet store in Southern California.
Oops, my 10 minutes are up! I hope I win the contest because maybe attending a writing class would light my creative fires and give me something to do besides procrastinate.

Lorinda said...

I can feel the anxiety churning in my stomach, like soft tingling flakes of faux frozen precipitation in a snow globe. I know I should sit down and write, but I am tired from a long tedious week at work (which I spent fantasizing about writing). I am afraid deep down that I will still be stuck at that job 20 years from now because I "wanted" to be a writer, but I never found the discipline.

And anyway, my writing is probably cliched and juvenile and never progressed beyond the age of ten when I won that writing contest at school with that story about the little girl who get leukemia and dies.

Actually, I didn't even win that contest, I think I got third place. How sad that my career peaked when I was still so young.

I flop down on the big blue second-hand couch in my living room, depressed. I curl up on the cushion and shut my eyes thinking, There is an easy way to overcome this. Just pick up your notepad and start writing.

Then I think about how good it feels to close my eyes, that nap time feeling slowly numbing limbs the same way it does every day at about 3 p.m.

No, I think, this is your free time, you have to use it for what you love.

I envision the weight of the pen in my fingers as it guides across the page. I feel the voices of characters and the settings of stories pulling at the corners of my mind. I think, I know, I'll just read for a little bit to get inspired.

I reach across to the bookshelf and grab a novel with a dreamy-colored illustration on the cover, feeling the smoothness of the thin white pages under my fingers as I open the book and get lost in someone else's story.

Writing Pad said...

Hi Eamonn,

I love your post! I love descriptions of the long, lazy mornings wasted in the sheets. I love that the narrator enjoys wandering around the park. I also thought that the caffeine drinking, list making, anxiety-ridden shame hole was excellent. My narrator can relate to that! Great job and thanks for posting!


Writing Pad said...

Hi Karen,

I really enjoyed your post. It was so funny! I love that you included eight different, specific procrastination techniques. I especially loved that the narrator procrastinated by dancing to Janet Jackson's "The Pleasure Principle," the whole part about about the reusable shopping bags, and the last line was great. Nice job!


Writing Pad said...

Hi Lorinda,
I loved this story! I could really see the narrator in her living room on the big, blue second hand couch struggling with her anxiety and exhaustion! I loved these lines so much: "I can feel the anxiety churning in my stomach, like soft tingling flakes of faux frozen precipitation in a snow globe. How sad that my career peaked when I was still so young. I reach across to the bookshelf and grab a novel with a dreamy-colored illustration on the cover, feeling the smoothness of the thin white pages under my fingers as I open the book and get lost in someone else's story."

Nice job!


Natalie Kottke said...

Dear Facebook,, fashion blogs, and all of you other bullshit blogs that waste my time.
You're not okay. We need to talk. I need to write my short stories, and publish my essay. Not clickity-click away for you.

Facebook. You steal minutes, sometimes hours from me. And, I'm breaking up with you. Not for real, but a mini break up. I need boundaries. No more voyeurism into others' domain. I don't care what you had for lunch, or what you did last weekend. Please stop tellling me uncomfortable details about your divorce, or infertility. PLEASE. I beg of you. Get some decency. I'm creating a wall of love. It's for the both of us. We need to have a healthier relationship. I will spend a few minutes with you a day. Responding to freind's posts. Writing happy birthday on a pal's wall. Networking for writing, business, etc. I will respect you, and you will respect me. Fuck you for sending me my daily horoscope. And fuck me for reading it over and over, and wondering how the hell I'm going to get Saturn off my Sun, so I can get back to smiles and moonbeams. I've called you several times to cancel, but you keep sending me notes. No more. Please.

Ms. fashion blog. I refuse to where jeggings. I don't get it. My calves are too large to fit into them, and it's not fair. I love you for your beauty, and irreverance, and I'm not quitting cold turkey. You are art. I respect you, but I'm limiting our friendship. I wear what I like without your dense influence. Yes, I care what you think to some degree, but I will no longer think, "what would x blog think about these shoes?"

I'm finding the T in tough love. You'll thank me, someday.