For a miracle, I’m actually well ahead of my target word count at the moment.
Don’t let that fool you, though. It doesn’t mean that I spend the whole day writing. It’s just that I don’t have a job, or anything else I need to be doing, so I have a lot of time to procrastinate and still get some writing done. In honour of that (sort of), I’m going to share ten of my favourite techniques for procrastination here.
1. Clean up your room. Or the whole house. If you’ve already done that, do it again. If you really run out of things to clean, you can always vacuum the air. There’s always dust in the air. It’s about time it was cleaned up, don’t you think?
2. Write postcards and letters to random people you met on the forums and exchanged addresses with. That’s a trip for buying cards, the time you spend writing your message to them in neat calligraphy, another trip for buying stamps, another for posting them, if you’re clever about it.
3. Draw your characters. Preferably in scenes you haven’t written yet. If you can’t draw, use The Sims or something, or you could always scour the internet for celebrity pictures. It’s hardly your fault that said pictures tend to appear on sites with simply intriguing, absolutely must-read headlines and articles, is it? Anyone would get distracted.
4. Exchange Facebook comments or emails with people you haven’t talked to in over a year. My distant acquaintances’ new shoes/pet escapades/random complaints have never been as interesting as they are this November.
5. Search YouTube or iTunes for new music to listen to. Your NaNo novel needs the perfect soundtrack if you’re going to write it properly, and with so much music out there, you, of course, have to sample as much of it as you possibly can. All in the name of Doing It Right. (I have five werewolf songs now, in three different languages. Thank you, YouTube, for introducing me to Schandmaul.)
6. The NaNo forums. Enough said. They’re a miracle. You have a community whose members are all Extremely Busy with something in November, and yet, November is by far the most active month – with levels of activity that put other forums to shame. And making forum posts isn’t the thing that everyone is so Extremely Busy with. It’s like a riddle. And I shouldn’t encourage you to visit them, for the love of your word count, but I’m going to anyway. They’re fun. And also inspiring. But mainly, that’s just the reason we use as an excuse to hang around there and discuss world-moving questions like What Happens When You Eat Yourself (ya rly).
7. Walk your dog. Or your cat. Your cat probably won’t like being walked, but that just means it’ll take longer. If you have neither cat nor dog, walk your hamster or your budgie, and if you’re entirely out of animals or only have fish, buy some balloons or just walk by yourself. Walking is good for you.
8. Bake cookies. Cookies are what makes the world go around, and they’re also what fuels the Dark Side, and NaNoWriMo is definitely of the Dark Side. Forever will it dominate your destiny. So you should bake some cookies, or if you can’t bake, go out and buy cookies and put them in the oven for a while and just pretend because that’s what all the best writers do best. Everyone knows that most fantasy novels are basically store-bought Tolkien cookies that someone put in the oven for a while.
9. Research. You should’ve done this in October, but oh well, October is over now so there’s nothing for it. And of course you need to know the average height of a sheep or the exact dimensions of the Mona Lisa or the rate at which apples decay in a temperate oceanic climate, otherwise that throwaway sentence you’re about to write just won’t make any sense at all. Time for Wikipedia. Or, if you’re feeling hardcore, TVTropes. Don’t click that link. It will eat your time. And your soul. And possibly your cookies. Seriously.
10. Write a blog post about all the wonderful ways of procrastinating that you’ve learned. The internet – nay, the world! – needs that blog post. Absolutely.
I’m actually quite amazed that I’m on track, because I’ve done pretty much all of this. I replaced the cat-walking with shoring up the gate of my garage, because the rain was getting through and my cat doesn’t like rain and she lives in the garage, so it seemed doubly cruel to send her out into it when, y’know, she was already in it, sort of, already. (Can you tell that I’ve got into the habit of being verbo… using lots of words when a few would do? Yes? Oh.) I haven’t baked any cookies yet, but trust me, the Dark Side is strong in this one. Sometimes I amaze even myself.
I’m done with Star Wars quotes now. You’re welcome to add to this – either the list, or the quotes, or both – if you have any ideas! In the meantime, happy procrastinating. I mean writing.