This may raise a few eyebrows, but this writer fully believes that procrastination is perfectly healthy and an important part of the writing process. People like to talk about "the dreaded writers block", but instead of letting it get a hold of you and allowing it to reduce you to an aggressive, gibbering wreck who marches up and down the corridors of their home muttering to themselves and staring at a blinking cursor for days on end, why not embrace it and turn procrastination into a positive thing?
Procrastination can be a great writing prompt that suddenly sees you burst into productive life. There's so many articles and books out there that make writers sound like hugely insecure people that are one step away from doing a Kurt Cobain impression. But it simply isn't the case, or certainly doesn't have to be.
Great things are almost never born out of forcing creativity, so embrace procrastination in its many great forms and enjoy it. The relaxing vibe that surrounds it will soon spring you into action.
Watch a Film of the 'So Bad it's Good Variety'
In an interview with Creative Screenwriting Magazine in 2007, Jeff Goldsmith asked Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg how they dealt with writers block during the writing process of Hot Fuzz. Their response:
"We'd watch a Chuck Norris film. Or a Steven Seagal classic."
They also mention that it was great to watch Steven Seagal's Out for Justice and it not be classed as procrastination, as they were watching an action film whilst writing an action film, after all. This is perfect advice, and something that this writer has embraced wholeheartedly. Nothing springs you out of writers block and procrastination than watching something that is within the genre that you want to work in, and is a mixture of good fun and completely awful.
No offence to any Steven Seagal fans, but Out for Justice ticks all of the boxes. The scene in which the pony-tailed beefcake beats up everyone in a bar full of guys who failed the Goodfellas audition is amazing and terrible all at the same time. There should be Oscars handed out for films that are outrageously entertaining whilst being completely rubbish. Out for Justice would be talked about like Gone with the Wind if there were such an award.
I guarantee that by the end of watching this film, Wright and Pegg turned to each other, said "Right!" and then ploughed forward with their screenplay with a new sense of urgency.
Google Yourself Stupid
The internet was invented so that writers could procrastinate their way back to their story: Fact. The search engines are a fantastic way to kill time before you find the right way to end the first sentence of your novel.
In the 1987 comedy classic Throw Momma from the Train, Billy Crystal's character is trying to write his second novel, and can't complete the opening sentence. He has 'The night was...' but he can't complete it, and he goes through half a dozen trees and shortens his life by ten years through stress over it.
If the poor bugger could have swapped his typewriter for a laptop, he could have watched videos of cute cats falling off things or read hundreds of articles written by unpublished hacks like me offering advice to writers to reinvigorate himself. These poor writers who lived in ancient times before YouTube, how did you manage to write a word? Bless 'em.
Procrastination is not a crime. Embrace it and enjoy it, because soon you'll be agonising over every word of your novel, short story or screenplay. Procrastination should be enjoyed not endured, if only in small controlled bursts.