Sometimes but not always, procrastination is your subconscious telling you are on the wrong track. I think Lawrence Block said that too. (If you need more of an authority than me.)

He also said that once he stops writing a particular book and starts on another, he never goes back to the first--ever. I think Block is wrong in that regard. I've gone back to an incomplete book many times.

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My procrastination stems from two different places: 1) being too busy with a day job and family to wanting to just take a little break now and then from the writing and 2) being a longtime newspaper person who likes the challenge of working totally on deadline. If I've procrastinated for a while, I have no trouble going back, re-reading what I've already written, and then pushing forward.
I agree: when I procrastinate it's usually because something isn't working. But I know that about myself, so I try to figure out what's off.
I've deserted projects too, but I never completely give up.

I do think that sometimes the best way to figure out what's wrong is to write your way through it, especially with novels.

Oh, and I also procrastinate when I'm out of snacks. M&Ms always get me back to work.
That's usually been true for me, that there's a good reason for what feels like procrastination. But there's also this thing I call loss of momentum -- once I've stopped it's way too easy just to stay stopped. Because I don't have any kind of ongoing contract right now, I am not forcing myself to the keyboard for those 5 pages a day, minimum. I kind of hate myself for lack of discipline.

But it is also true that I was feeling uncomfortable with the current w-i-p, and after several days I knew why. It took a very long time for me to figure out how to fix it because the problem was significant, and now I'm finding lots and lots of other things to do that take up my time to the point where I think, "OK, I'll get back to it tomorrow."

I've known people who could work on more than one book at a time, but I can't. Not once I've started the actual writing. I work on book concepts for a long time in my head, though, and on bits of paper that I occasionally am organized enough to put in a notebook, for a long time before I actually begin to write. I can do that kind of thing while I have a current book in process of being written.
I was going to add my thoughts to this discussion earlier, but . . . well, you know?
Yeah, understood. You can post it later.
Artist painters have several works in process at a time. Sculptors do too... et cetera. A good meal may have several itmes on a plate at a time, and we switch between them throughout the meal. I agree with you... go back to previously unfinished works and see what can be done.
I have about 30 plots in various stages, from sketch, to diagram, and even outline. I have three novels in process at this time. When I write, I work on which ever project needs me to be in the mood I am at the time.
Let's say I come home from a stupid day at my otherwise great day-job. My ill temper may be needed in one of my WIP. I open it and start pouring my energy into the story, where the characters match my own mood of the hour.
Procastination for me is waiting for my iner energies to align. Sometimes I will think "I should work now," but my inner voice says "No, not now. In a little while." I tend to write when my inner self is ready to wite. Fortunately for me, that is almost all the time. When I am not in the mood, I read instead. Oh yeah, there is that day job thing I do a lot.
I really think this is interesting. I was born a procrastinator in my personal life, honing this nasty habit into quite a skill--but I am very disciplined when it comes to my passion of writing. I'm kind of scared to analyze what this might mean.

But I've noticed that when something isn't reading true, I get up and walk away from it--to ponder it awhile. The brain can work on a problem even if the person it's attached to is fast asleep or zoning out watching reality TV--CAN'T believe I just said that.

If a scene or dialogue loses my interest, it gets cut, no question. For me, any scene can be told a million different ways and I think my mind picks the one that best suits me as a storyteller.

I also have little interest in revising and revising a book. (I inherited my impatience from my father.) I would much rather start on a new project and move on to learn what I need to know with that one. I feel my best book is always my next one. I ended up selling my suspense inventory when my debut book sold.

Sometimes it's finding the right editor that loves what you do. Then in hindsight, you look brilliant for having the courage not to change a thing. (grin)
I actively practice procrastination because It gives me time to think. Too often, when I have a problem, I push to solve it right away, but what I really need to do it coast a little; consider more avenues and act when I have the best information I can get for the time constraints. My day job invloves supervising a lot of young workers and believe me nothing needs my immediate attention more (in their minds) than their current question or concern. It helps that there are sometimes 60 of them and one of me. Marco....
Absolutely! Procrastination is often simpy our attempt to 'buy' time!
I don't do unfixable or incomplete, LOL. Although, some days, I feel like the current WIP might be the one to make me eat my words.
Oh boy. Kris, how I identify with your "perfection" approach. The problem is -- we get caught in that wish for perfection. Perfection comes much futher along in the process!!!!!!!!! Just keep going!!!!!!!!
After you do this for a while, you begin to realize that what you wrote when you forced yourself to do it is usually no worse and often better than what comes from inspiration. Inspiration, the elusive muse, helps you speed along, but sometimes takes you on a wrong tangent. You can't wait for it. You have to go get it. Writing, for most of us, is a craft. Even the greats had to learn the craft before they developed the art.

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