When Procrastination Pays Off

Sometimes the perfectionist in me just can’t make things happen. For those of you who also suffer from this terrible affliction, there’s always a case when procrastination pays off.


I can’t help that it’s Word Wednesday. Procrastination comes from the Latin words pro for “for” and cras for “tomorrow.” Literally, it means “for tomorrow.” Just like I’ve been doing for this blog post for quite a while now.

The One Time Procrastinating Actually Worked Out for Me

No, I’m not talking about how if you put it off long enough someone else will do it for you. The kids do this with their various chores, and let’s just say it doesn’t work out to their benefit. I’m not a fan of weaponized incompetence.

This special scenario actually ties to my writing, more specifically to “the edit from hell” of the longest book I’ve ever written. While it sure doesn’t seem like it, I’m really excited to release it because I’m very proud of the way it’s turned out. However, I have to finish editing it and get it beta-read first. So what’s the hold-up?

Yup, you guessed it … I’ve been procrastinating.

In my defense, I’ve been puttering around on some other writing projects, but the book draft sits on various surfaces in my house and mocks me in all its incomplete glory. I’ve been stuck in lots of spots, but none as important as the origins of my main character.

When Procrastination Pays Off

Lo and behold, putting off working through the book allowed the answer to fall into place, delivered directly from the heavens. It solves a bunch of little problems beautifully and makes my characters’ behaviors even more believable. I just needed to wait long enough for lightning to strike, to get the right idea in the right place at the right time.

Sure, a critique partner would have helped if I had one at this stage. They probably would have stared at me funny and pointed out what retrospectively is quite obvious. But I don’t like sharing my work until I’ve at least read it all the way through myself and fixed the worst offenses.

With fiction, and most especially with fantasy, you’re already demanding that your reader suspends disbelief. So everything else has to make sense. I can’t expect you to believe in some specific magic but then also expect you to disregard characters acting in ridiculous ways that no one ever would.

You know what I’m talking about. Every fraidy cat in every horror movie somehow decides they need to go running off into the woods. No, silly, turn on the lights. Keep everyone together. Lock all the doors. Call for help from your fully charged cell phone. Get the authorities to handle the problem, not a bunch of unsupervised teens. Can you tell that we’ve been watching “Stranger Things“? I just can’t get over how these kids successfully hid another child in their house without any grownup noticing. Missing food, bathroom usage, extra noise, I just can’t believe that any parent would be so dim when terrible things are happening around them.

Anyway, onward with the edit. Now that this particular weight has left my shoulders, solving the rest of the issues in the book should go smoothly. Whatever it takes, though, I mustn’t expect procrastination to pay off again.

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