Gail Carriger’s Graph of Authorial Procrastination (Important for Writers)


Since the moment I learned of NaNoWriMo, I have been unable to participate. I’ve always had deadlines for other writing that had to take priority, and for years I wrote fiction while working on my PhD and working weekend jobs. I know there are no excuses in the NaNoWri world but there’s mine. Nevertheless, I am one of those authors who rather enjoys the furor and excitement of the Great NaNo. I think anything that causes anyone anywhere to be excited about writing is No Bad Thing.

Therefore, I thought those of you who are up against the November deadline might enjoy a reboot of this old post I did on my personal cycle of procrastination, emotional resilience, and production as a writer. It hasn’t changed much over the years. Becoming a full timer who writes to eat only seems to cause this Authorbeast to sink further into the pattern.

AKA The histogram of coffee shop visits vs. writing competency

Bellow is a simple graph charting the average author’s progress through a book. This, of course, is based on an entirely representative sample of one.

On the Y axis we have: Number of Visits to the Local Coffee Shop
On the X axis we have: Progress of Book Toward Completion described as follows
  • 0-20% complete ~ Thrill of a New Adventure, during which phase your hardy author stays home and is Very Diligent
  • 20-40% complete ~ Nose to the Grindstone, during which phase your terrified author is driven to productivity by the sheer weight of deadline
  • 40-60% complete ~ Struggle With Progress, your long-suffering author has achieve the half way point, only to realize she must write the same amount again
  • 60-80% complete ~ I Suck, Why Bother?, during this phase your depressive author is convinced everything she writes is rubbish, no one will buy the book, the editor will want a massive rewrite, and she should take up manufacturing shoes for earthworms or something equally useful
  • 80-100% complete ~ Victory is Mine, during this phase the light appears at the end of the tunnel, the betas are clamoring for the next book, and your triumphant author has decided once more she is brilliant.
This final state of euphoria will, of course, last exactly as long as it takes for the authorbeast to print out the manuscript and begin her first read through at which juncture, the entire process repeats.

I suppose I’m trying to show that most of us authors face doubts an depression and frustration as we write. That doesn’t change. The point is to soldier on. And drink lots of tea!

Book News:
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Lord Akeldama Cosplay at DragonCon

Quote of the Day:
“Books support us in our solitude and keep us from being a burden to ourselves.”
~ Jeremy Collied


Posted by Gail Carriger

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  1. BrittBratt said:

    Tea is my only saving grace since I am behind in my NaNoWriMo quest. But even though I haven't made the daily goal every night I have written some sort of meager offering (even if it's only 100 words). The hardest part is to not give up when you see other NaNos so far ahead in word count, but I'm getting in the habit of reminding myself I'm not them and I'll get there when I get there. *coughNovember30thcough*

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