Writing Prompts – Ending or Feeding Procrastination?

I have several boards on Pinterest – https://uk.pinterest.com/daverfarmer – that range from Zombie Art to Beautiful words, Adventure photos and Writing Prompts. It has become my go-to app, and my favourite time sponge.

Recently I’ve struggled with writing. Not the actual physical act of tapping away on the keyboard, or indeed the dreaming and scheming of plots and scenes.

I have a nice desk set up – neat and tidy and a chair that’s easy on the back and the butt.

These days it’s the act of actually getting my arse into the seat.

I’m still struggling a little with the art of writing without smoking, even though I quit almost a year ago. Blog posts, emails, and bitty stuff come easy, but when it comes to a planned writing session I find it difficult sometimes to get into the zone.

Lurking at the rear of my brain is the Distracting Thought Monkey. God, how I hate him!

He whispers to me.

Will I need to go shopping later?

Where are the dogs? Are they making a mess in the living room?

Where’s my phone? Is it on silent? Should I put it on silent? What if there’s an important call?

Should I go get the milk now or later?

Is it sunny/warm enough to hang washing outside?

How many pages will write today?

How many pages should I do today so I don’t feel guilty about slacking off?

When am I going to get around to actually promoting my first book?

How much does that all stuff cost?

What’s for dinner?

Gosh, there’s a lot of dust on my PC – I should go find a duster…

How many YouTube video’s can I watch until it’s obvious I’m procrastinating?

I haven’t checked emails yet today.

What are the dogs barking at now?

Wonder if my World of Warcraft account is still active?

Why hasn’t my latest Amazon order arrived yet?

What’s for lunch? What did I have for breakfast?

Maybe I should write a blog post first, get it out of my system before settling down to write.

Just a couple of YouTube videos…and 10 minutes of Pinterest…

Why do I keep looking out of the window?

I could go on, dear blog reader, but then I’d spend more time writing this post instead of actually writing my novel. How do other people deal with the garbage their monkey’s spew out?

And the weird thing is that when I do finally settle down and put fingers to keyboard I really enjoy it. The words come and my characters dance for my amusement.

I know how to slay the Distracting Thought Monkey, yet once dead and buried, his replacement shows up – Monkey Thinker Two.

What a barstard.

So, browsing Pinterest I came across some nifty writing prompt pictures. A few words, enough to make me think “hmm, yeah, that’s interesting…I’d go with…” which is okay because Ponderous Thought Monkey is a welcome distraction, especially when browsing Pinterest whilst on the crapper.

Too much information?

We’ve all been there.

Move on.

Thank your lucky stars I didn’t include that picture.

Don’t worry, there’s no picture.

I could take a picture.

I won’t.

Any-hoo. That got me thinking. Instead of worrying about whether I’m procrastinating too much instead of writing more of The Holt, I could write my own writing prompts. That way I get my creative juices slurping and slopping in the hope some will spill over into my novel-writing mind and drown Monkey Thinker Two.

I guess that’s just another form of procrastination.

I should look that up and see if there’s a word for it, like pre-procrastination.

You could argue I’m procrastinating right now, where the house is quiet and I have nothing else better to do than sit and write. I have been meaning to do a new post since I’ve not done one since Part 3 of my Kilimanjaro thing.

The horrible thing is that before starting this post I watched an hours worth of utterly pointless YouTube videos that failed to enrich my life.

So I procrastinated instead of writing this post, which is little more than avoiding writing The Holt – which might be procrastination² I think.

Is that right? Should I check on that?

Oh. Em. Gee.

Monkey Thinker Three has arrived ahead of schedule.

The point of this post is to announce I’ll be sticking some writing prompts up now and then. Maybe they’ll help someone in a similar situation as myself.

Okay. That’s it. That’s all I have to say today.

One last picture, and then I’m done. My second writing prompt.

I’m done.

Time to work on The Holt.

Ooh look, a squirrel on the fence…

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3 thoughts on “Writing Prompts – Ending or Feeding Procrastination?

  1. Ban yourself from the internet each day, until you’ve done some meaningful work. That’s my rule. If I don’t stick to it, I don’t get any writing done. Also, set yourself a date to have finished a project and then try to beat that date. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of deciding that your writing is more important than all those things that distract you. If the answer is “yes”, then just get on and do it, otherwise you’ll reach the end of each week and feel an utter failure for having wasted all that time procrastinating.
    End of lecture.
    You can do it, Dave. I know you can…

    • I have been employing a reward system just lately. If I achieve my writing goal I can play a video game for a bit. The goal isn’t word count or pages, but to reach the end of a chapter or a scene.

      It’s weird but I’ve had to do some self-training around learning how to enjoy the act of writing again without a cigarette. It’s taken longer than I thought to reach a place where I can enjoy the flow of thought to keyboard to screen without thinking about smoking. I don’t care about them at all by the way, but more the habit I had formed over many years where smoking and writing were almost inseparable.

      The Holt is moving on now, after a series of starts that went nowhere there’s an actual consistent flow now. If you’d asked me 20 years ago if I’d ever find writing hard I would have laughed until I cried. These days it’s both hard and easy at the same time. It is both utter pleasure and pain. But I can’t live without it.

      • I’m so pleased you’re getting back into the flow of writing. You would have had one severely disgruntled fan here, if you dumped The Holt. Bravo for giving up smoking. It’s an addiction, so withdrawal from it plays severe silly buggers with the brain, and if it was so inextricably tied up with writing, then extracting one from the other is like a huge feat of brain gym. I think that writing becomes harder as you progress, because accrued knowledge of the craft makes you a much harder taskmaster and self-critic of what you produce. Keep at it. I’m cheering you on 🙂

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