I’m good at many things. I don’t say that to brag, it’s just honest. Most of those things are completely useless in the real world though, hence why it isn’t bragging I suppose.
For example, I could tell you pretty much anything about the American Revolutionary period. But when was the last time you had a question about Gouverneur Morris or Silas Deane in Trivial Pursuit? Yea, exactly.
One of the things I’m best at is procrastinating. Definitely not a good skill to have. I’m great at putting things off until another day. I’ll be honest, that crippled my first attempt at a novel because I got out of the habit of writing and lost the work’s voice.
Procrastination can kill a novel. I’ve learned that over the years. Short stories you can often sit down and write (but not properly revise as you need a little time and distance from the work to do that) in one sitting. Procrastination doesn’t play into it as much and so it is easier to stay in the story’s “mind-frame.”
Unless you’re superhuman, this is pretty much impossible with a novel. It’s going to take weeks to months to write, maybe even years for some authors and some works.
So the only way to keep procrastination from killing it, at least the only way that I’ve found, is to write every day. Even if it sucks and you delete it the next day (which I advise against, everything seems worse before revision), at least you’re keeping your mind in the story.
They may just be words on a page, but in your head (and if you do it well, in the heads of your readers) it is a living world with living characters. Keep them in your head, don’t let procrastination force them to the background where they fade into nothing more than half-remembered ideas. Write daily!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to stop procrastinating by writing this blog and go work on my novel.