This is a guest post from Jamie Raintree of JamieRaintree.com.
I’ve put off writing this blog post for about two weeks now. I came up with the perfect idea two weeks before that. But today felt like the right day to finally sit down and write it.
Let me tell you a story.
I have been working on a fictional blog project for six months. Twenty-thousand words over a six month period? Yeah, some procrastination was involved.
I loved the story.
Whenever I finally picked it up again, I would write late into the night no matter how early I had to get up the next morning. But then, of course, work happened, parenting happened, other writing projects happened, and it seemed the longer I went without working on it, the longer I could go without thinking about it at all.
Finally, I finished my novel, and all my blog posts were written, and the busy work week had passed. I had time to come back to my story.
I put it on my to-do list for the week but it never got written. It rolled over to the following week but Monday flew by, I was tired on Tuesday, I had a friend over on Wednesday. Thursday was…wait, what was my excuse for Thursday? I got fed up with myself.
My schedule blew to pieces on Friday too so I figured, there’s no time like the present. I took my laptop to Wendy’s (no wifi), silenced the baby with chicken nuggets and finished the fictional post in 45 minutes.
All that procrastination…45 minutes of writing.
Procrastination For Nothing?
I felt guilty. I felt silly. I felt like my laptop should have been taken from me and “non-writer” stamped on my forehead. But honestly, up until an hour before I sat down to write, I had no idea how I wanted to finish that chapter. I had been going over it in my mind for days, wracking my brain in front of my open Word document without a clue.
When I finally forced myself to write, it flowed like the Niagra Falls. It was perfect. I wondered, if I’d finished it the week before, the day before, or even the hour before, would I have written the same story?
Is Timing Everything?
Last night I watched the movie Hereafter, starring Matt Damon (which may or may not have been a deciding factor in adding it to my queue). One of the themes of the movie was timing—the idea that a single decision or delay could be the difference between crossing paths with your fate or missing it entirely.
Whether or not you believe in fate, I’m sure everyone has felt that timing played a role in where your job, or your love or your life has ended up.
I like to think of my story as its own being, walking around out there, waiting to bump into me and seal my writerly fate.
I truly believe timing plays a huge role in writing. No, not writing—in your story. Everyone can write at any time of life, any time of the week, or any time of day, but sometimes it really isn’t time for that story or chapter or scene. Sometimes you haven’t come face to face with your story yet.
I’m not encouraging procrastination, by any means. I think this theory could just as easily go the other way. What I’m saying is that sometimes you have to force yourself to sit down and write, and sometimes you have to trust that your mind is telling you today is not the day for your story.
Procrastination happens. There’s no need to beat yourself up about it. I would argue that sometimes procrastination is exactly what your story needs. Just make sure you listen when inspiration finally knocks, or stands in front of you in line at the coffee shop, or is printed in today’s newspaper. It’s probably the fate of your story crossing your path. It’s probably time to write it.
Have you felt the “fate” in your writing? Have you ever had an idea simmering but it wasn’t until that last little detail fell into your lap that you finally felt ready to put it on paper?
About The Author: Jamie Raintree is a women’s fiction writer, wife and mother of a 1-year-old daughter. Check out her blog, JamieRaintree.com for writing craft posts, fictional blogs web design for writers, and her writing adventures. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.
Note: I’m on a blogging break until September. Each week throughout the summer I’ll be sharing guest posts from different writers. If you’d like to guest post for this blog, send your idea to: firstname.lastname@example.org.