Procrastination… Is Makin’ Me Late*

* With apologies to Carly Simon.

We’re all guilty of it. You’ve decided that now is the time to sit down and finally do whatever it is you’ve been putting off: those year-end taxes; that letter to your niece thanking her for a lovely birthday present; or perhaps organizing all those thousands of photos on your computer.

But I’m thinking writers have to be the worst—or best—at procrastination.

Once I’ve sat myself down to write, I find it so easy to get distracted and do anything but actually put down those words on that page (or screen). Just how easy is it? Let me count the ways:

1. Research rabbit holes

Oh, I need to look up how to make that artichoke soup that Sally’s dad makes for the Artichoke Cook-Off. Huh, it calls for herbes de Provence. I wonder if you could substitute something else? Oooo….now that looks good (I think, scrolling through recipes with various herbs). Hmmm…. maybe I should make that herbed leek tart for dinner tonight….

Mario’s artichoke soup (recipe in The Fragrance of Death)

2. Checking my email

Right. I’m just gonna check real quick to see if my sister wrote back about dinner tomorrow night. Oh, look! There’s a message from one of the Chicks; I wonder what she could be writing me about….

3. Facebook

This is one of the most dangerous ones for me. Is that a video of baby goats jumping about in pajamas? [Here’s particularly cute one, if you, too, want to procrastinate.] Wait—didn’t I meet the woman in that photo at last year’s Malice Domestic? Oh, look, Mark Baker just posted his favorite reads for this month!

4. Making lunch

Penning culinary mysteries as I do, I get awfully hungry writing about all the dishes that Sally and the gang at her restaurant Gauguin prepare for their eager customers. So it’s no wonder that my stomach will often start to growl mid-way through a writing session. And one really shouldn’t write on an empty stomach, right? So it’s off to the kitchen to prepare a little smackerel of something….

5. And the winner is…. gazing out the window

I’m lucky enough to have a lovely view from my writing desk here in Hilo, out to our front yard and the street beyond. So it’s easy to become fascinated by the saffron finches hopping across the lawn in search of grass seeds; or the neighbor boys playing tag; or the coconut palms across the way waving gently in the soft trade winds.

Okay, okay, I know that there are solutions to these issues: Use one of those apps or whatever that don’t allow you to use the internet while you’re writing. And do your writing someplace without a view.

But there’s no way to keep myself from getting hungry as I write. In fact, come to think of it, I’m feeling a bit peckish right now, simply thinking about not eating. Right. Time to go make some lunch!

Readers: What are your favorite ways to procrastinate?

41 thoughts on “Procrastination… Is Makin’ Me Late*

  1. Reading or watching tv or being online are my favorites lately but soon it will be going to the beach. It’s still not too safe to go in the water after the hurricane, too much debris and people are still finding sharp or hard objects in the sand too.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. We are inbetween Ft Myers and Sarasota and had lots of damage here. Lots of stores and businesses, my library I go to are still closed because of the severe damage. So many houses have blue tarps on them. All the people that lost their homes are living under bridges and in parks and woods until they get kicked out. They are not doing much to help these people and a lot of them are elderly. We were lucky and only had minimal damage hardly more than our deductible.

        Liked by 4 people

  2. Ha! You basically covered my favorite ways to procrastinate. I used to add Twitter to it but that’s become boring. It’s a sea of bot-generated tweet prompts.
    But I guess another way I procrastinate is by doing social media promotion. I actually wrote a piece for Career Authors about productive procrastination inspired by this.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It happened just this morning. I was making the bed and heard a rustle outside the bedroom window. There is a huge Rhododendron bush on the side of the house and my window looks right into it. It is like looking into another world. I am an amateur photographer, and living in the country gives me subjects galore. This morning it was Sparrows and Cardinals. I grab my camera and start shooting. Oh yeah, the bed is half made. sigh. Now it is time to see what I have for photos. I make a pot of coffee and settle down to take a look. I put the photos onto the computer and it’s time to edit them. But first I’ll just check my email. Hmmmm Weird History did a piece on King Charles. Oh! It’s Monday Chick’s on the Case blog is here! Procrastination??? Leslie, did you write this piece for me? Ok, I get it. Back to my photos. If you find my Facebook page later, maybe I can distract YOU for a while. Great piece, Leslie, Thank you!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I feel so seen, Leslie! ❤ I MUST be a writer too! Squeeee! Actually, I've begun my memoir covering the 20 years our daughter and I had with my late wife. While I know it will simply go up under LGTB+/ Grief support for free, I still want it to be a solid book. But Lordy, I'm still a daydreamer at 50-something!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I don’t procrastinate, exactly, but I do something similar and equally self-sabotaging. I don’t like to start something unless I have ample time to finish it. Not big stuff like writing a novel, but little stuff. Like if it’s getting to be 4pm, and I know Nala will start telling me it’s dinnertime at 4:30 but I have a task that will take me an hour, I won’t work on it for that half hour. Instead, I’ll bump it until tomorrow and spend 4-4:30 checking email or playing solitaire on my phone. If I’m lucky, I’ll have a 30-min task I can attend to, but how often does that happen?? It’s so stupid, and I know I’m doing it at the time, but …. dopey me, I still do it!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Me: “I’m gonna find one more piece for this jigsaw puzzle, then go do that thing I need to do.”
    10 minutes later: “OK, I’m just gonna find one more piece.”
    Repeat several times.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Me: “I’m gonna find one more piece for this jigsaw puzzle, then go do that thing I need to do.”
    10 minutes later: “OK, I’m just gonna find one more piece.”
    Repeat several times.


  8. If there’s something I’m desperately trying to avoid, like making a doctor’s appointment or calling the insurance people, I can come up with numerous and clever ways to procrastinate! Cleaning out my purse. Cleaning out an old purse. Shopping online for a new purse…


  9. My favorite way to procrastinate is “research,” which has included watching TikTok videos (“for work”), planning fake vacations (in case they can be used in an upcoming book that I haven’t yet conceived of), and trying to learn how to do a Scottish accent (for no reason other than I was curious if I could…spoiler: I can’t).


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