Using Procrastination Productively (Yes…You Totally Read that Right)

So, before I dive into this blog post’s topic (seriously…this idea has been rattling around in my head for a while now—but more on that later) a few things!

  • I’m going to Italy in a few months! (And I am so excited.) I mentioned in a recent Instagram post that my current WIP is inspired by Greco-Roman culture, and the fact that I’ve gotten to see Greece and Italy in the same year is UNREAL. I studied Pompeii and Herculaneum in high school, too, so seeing that with my own eyes is going to be damned special. And…let’s face it…I’m very excited to devour that Italian food (ironically, I don’t like Greek food that much—which I should, given that I am Greek…)
  • I’m slowllyyyy trying to become more active on social media, specifically Instagram—especially since I’m super-passionate about photography!—so if you want to follow me, my handle is @karahelenterzis. (Same for Twitter too!) I tend to use the Stories function a lot, and I may be posting some excerpts as I draft this book. I also intend to post my Italy adventures there! There…will probably be lots of food.
  • I’ve been working super hard on a new work-in-progress (which you might’ve heard me talk about if you follow my social media.) The beginning was slow-going, but 20k in, and it’s become monumentally easier. I’m not sure what changed, but fingers crossed I’ll have this project drafted before I leave!
  • It’s almost spring!!! Maybe an odd thing to mention…but it really is my favorite season. (Flowers! Warm weather! Blue skies! Perfect for photography.)
  • I’m literally counting down the days until Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. The more I hear about it, the more excited I become. (We get to explore Ancient Greece!!!)

So, for today’s actual post …

I’m what I like to call myself a visual and audial planner. I do handwrite—or sometimes type—outlines, concepts, characters and so on (I literally have a Word Doc. called “Master List of Inspiration” where I jot down ideas/names/concepts so they’re not haunting my mind) but most of it goes on my head. And sometimes, these things can often feel like I’m wasting time. In reality, though, they’re not. They’re helping me sharpen my ideas into a story worth telling, helping me narrow out the ideas that suit the project rather than just the ideas I want to use. For me, two things happen before I even begin drafting a project.

  1. A playlist.
  2. A Pinterest board.

Like I said, at a glance—and probably to people who aren’t writers—these things look like flat-out procrastination. And maybe they are. I don’t know. But they’re an integral part of my process that helps so much, so maybe it might help other people out there too. Interestingly, I always have a title before I start a board. The title (for me!) is that point where the book graduates from a cluster of ideas to a concept for an actual book.

Sure, that’s a small milestone. But a milestone all the same.

I’ve spoken quite a bit of how music plays such an instrumental (haaaaa!) role in my work before, but not much about artwork. The only post I’ve ever really done on that is one about MIDNIGHT QUEEN, & how classical and fairy-tale/folklore artists have inspired me. I’ve always used Pinterest to track my ideas—of what I think characters look like, of the general “feeling” of the book, of places, architecture, fashion, landscape… And judging by the number of authors I see on there, I know I’m not alone! But more than that, it acts as a place I go to when I’m stuck, or unsure, or just generally feeling frustrated with my work. It reignites that spark of the story. Pushes me forward, instead of standing still. Is Pinterest still procrastination? Sure, maybe, but it’s helpful.

 

Pinterest_1

(…and yes, most of my boards are secret! It helps me focus solely on the book without distractions of comments, repins, etc. Hopefully, though, I will make them public one day!)

(And, also yes: this book has dinosaurs. It’s wickedly, wildly fun, and I’ve loved this book before I even begun writing it.)

I have a similar process with music and creating playlists.

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Every time I listen to this song, I’m thrown back into my world. ❤

Each song I include correlates with a certain scene, or character, or section of the novel, so they’re pretty detailed playlists. Sometimes a song just encapsulates the “feeling” I’m trying to invoke with the novel, so I’ll include that too. And like with my Pinterest boards, I’ll have it up to look at/listen to when I’m actively drafting or revising. I also find that music helps to keep the momentum going when I write, so putting together these playlists before/as I write or revise each project is immensely helpful. I’m constantly adding, shifting, changing things around to suit my vision of the novel.

Right now, one of my favorite songs on my current WIP’s playlist (which I affectionately call Greek Dino Book) is “Iniquity” by Chris Davey. When I first listened to this song, parts of the novel just…fell into place (to all my writers out there: oh, you know that amazing, chill-worthy feeling.)

So, how about you guys? Music, no music? Pinterest, no Pinterest? How do you gather and keep track of your ideas? Do we have a similar process, or are you wildly different? I’d love to hear!


Currently reading: CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi (side note: I just finished reading THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black, and oh…my…god. What a wickedly delightful book. Keep an eye out on my blog for a review sooooon! THE WICKED KING cannot come soon enough.)

Currently listening to: “Which Witch” & “Dahlia” by Florence & the Machine. (Florence & the Machine utterly blows my mind. Her voice, her lyrics, the images her words invoke… Pure, pure magic. Ugh, I just love all her work. Also, that “Who’s the heretic now” line? SHIVERS.)

4 thoughts on “Using Procrastination Productively (Yes…You Totally Read that Right)

  1. CG @ Paper Fury says:

    Ahh that’s SO EXCITING you’re going to Italy too! I can’t wait to see the photos/Stories on IG about it. 😍Also I agree that there are some “procrastinations” that are actually really helpful and often super good for inspiration!? I think sometimes we slam things as procrastination but like…we have to refill the creative tank as we give out words! I find pinterest gets me motivated…same as a good playlist. Also now listening to that epic song you have here and AHH IT’S SO COOL.

    Like

    • karaterzis says:

      Yes, definitely! Honestly—I just think that writers are too hard on themselves. Sometimes we NEED to take a break, to gather our thoughts, and if that means using Pinterest or making playlists, then so be it! Especially when I find it helps so, so much to refine my ideas. And ahh, it’s so good, right!? I listen to it on repeat, haha.

      Like

  2. Shanti says:

    I try to do this to. Not for writing but for other things like assignments. I like to procrastinate by learning countries of the world/capitals, so I’m still learning and don’t feel as bad about taking breaks, but get a change of rhythm. and of course quiet time, like running for me, is often when I figure out the problems of what I’m writing about. so I love this! and enjoy CBB it’s mindblowing!

    Like

    • karaterzis says:

      You’re totally right! I think this idea can be applied to any kind of work, and not just writing. And that’s so cool—learning capitals sounds like a really great way of “procrastination.” It’s so great you run, too! I love going for walks. It’s a wonderful way for my mind to unwind, and honestly, it can be pretty great for plotting too.

      Like

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