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Discussion: Do You Procrastinate Because You Don’t Like Your Writing?

by Jennifer on November 12, 2009

By Jennifer Blanchard

While doing some research for a blog post I was working on, I came across an article about procrastination that said something I haven’t read anywhere else (so far, anyways).

The article said people often procrastinate on their writing because they don’t want to re-read what they’ve written; they hate writing a first draft, because then they’re forced to evaluate it in all its imperfection.

This thought, at first, seemed ludicrous–How could someone hate re-reading their own writing?

The more I thought about it, though, the more it started to make sense.

Since many writers lack confidence in themselves and their writing, it makes sense that they would avoid writing as a way of not being forced to re-read what they perceive to be a horrible first draft.

But rather than draw a conclusion on my own, I thought I’d ask you for your thoughts.

So, Procrastinating Writers–what do you think? Do you procrastinate because you don’t want to be forced to re-read your writing? Do you hate to read your first drafts? Why or why not?

Please share your thoughts…the mics all yours…

About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is founder of Procrastinating Writers. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 S. Megan Payne November 12, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Writing is reading to me. I hate reading them the first time, while I’m writing them (if it’s not flowing well), because it’s so much less than the wonderfulness I hear/see/feel in my head. If it comes to my head in words, then it’s okay, but anything else and I hate the transfer.

2 jennifer blanchard November 12, 2009 at 1:39 pm

@S. Megan Payne I personally LOVE re-reading what I write because it makes all my fears dissipate. When I re-read after I’m finished writing I tend to discover that my first draft has a lot more brilliance than I give myself credit for. Especially when it comes to my fiction. Sure, there are errors and things that need to be fixed, but overall, there’s a lot of ideas and scenes that are magically and make me feel like all that writing was worth it.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

3 S. Megan Payne November 12, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Funny, but re-reading is okay. I’m okay afterwards because I know I can change it. And I…um…:blushes slightly:…really love to edit. Especially if my pages are bleeding in red and blue ink and are hardly legible by the time I’m done. I guess it’s just that first round of “This isn’t what I imagined.”

4 jennifer blanchard November 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm

@S. Megan Payne Totally agree. If your first draft isn’t bleeding when you’re done with it, you weren’t being critical enough. That’s why it’s important to have someone else read your writing for you, too…because they WILL be crticial enough (constructively critical, that is. Just plain critical is not helpful.) 🙂

5 Brittany November 12, 2009 at 5:21 pm

I don’t like re-reading my first drafts at all. There is never any brilliance in them and they are usually all completely terrible.

I don’t think that’s why I procrastinate, though. I know that I have to get my writing done.

6 Icy Sedgwick November 13, 2009 at 10:44 am

I often find myself procrastinating, but not because of revisions. I don’t mind re-reading the existing work and adding to it (I revise as I go), but I don’t like having to add to the work with new words in case I spoil what I’ve already written. Silly, I know.

7 Susie McCray November 15, 2009 at 12:21 am

I don’t mind the re-reading. It’s just that when I get ready to edit, I wonder if I’m really making the writing better or if I’m just nitpicking because the lack my lack self-confidence. I like it much better when other people read my writing and offer feedback whether positive or negative.

8 livingparadox December 22, 2009 at 7:51 pm

It is absolutely true that I am partly procrastinating because i am afraid that i am going to find that my writing is not that good. That’s why i believe i can never get anything done and why i feel that everything i manage to finish writing is incomplete.
Re-reading is painful for a procrastinator because nothing can match his great desire of writing something good but an “instantaneous” and perfect piece of writing.

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