Become a Pro-Procrastinator
Includes book recommendations
If you are noticing a change in the layout of this newsletter, that’s because I’ve shifted to Substack (finally!). I’ve been meaning to make this change for a while now, but I’ve been procrastinating. There is nothing quite as satisfying as procrastination, right? To while away the hours, despite the fact that you have a lot of work. Words aren’t going to write themselves. You gotta do it. Sit your ass down and write. Or do whatever work it is that needs to be done.
But writers have a strange relationship with procrastination. Think about it, only only someone who dabbles in words would like a joke upon itself make it start with “pro.” Like procrastination is something good. But then I wonder, is it really bad?
I co-wrote a book that launched this year. It’s a biography of a crazy adventurer and one of his mottos in life is “day dreaming is important.” While I wholeheartedly agree to this, I wonder, isn’t day dreaming one of the functions of procrastination? Whenever I’m procrastinating from my work, I sit and think the stories I want to write, or envision the cover for it. I sometimes even have fake interviews in my head about the stories I’ve already written. It all helps, feeds into my work. Especially the fake interviews—something is always uncovered in there, a fact, a layer I did not know, or an idea that gets unlocked.
While procrastination can seem like a good thing, it should be limited to smaller time frames. Otherwise, if you’re anything like me, the mind is a rabbit hole and it’s easy to get lost in there.
Here’s a trick I sometimes use to make procrastination more useful, especially when it starts to get in the middle of work:
The term I’ve coined for it is: Pro-Procrastination - Procrastinate like a Pro (TM). This works when you have multiple projects and one of them is something you want to procrastinate at. Procrastinate on one task by doing another. For eg. I write full time, and most of my day is spent writing. But I have to make a lot of creatives for social media for my Tall Tales channel. So while writing I pro-procrastinate by making creatives and artwork for events that are coming up, and sometimes, to give myself a head start, for those that have not yet come up. It’s a small task, sometimes takes 5 minutes, sometimes takes an hour, but eventually it needs to get done. It helps—I get the creative made and I get my procrastination hit for my main work. Win-win.
Try it out, and tell me what you think. I’d love to hear what ways you use to beat off procrastination.
Today I’m going to recommend books written by my friends who beat procrastination and got a book published. I’m so proud of each one of them.
1. Young Blood by Chandrima Das
Chandrima has such a great sense of word choice. I’ve always admired this and it’s in stark display in her debut book, Young Blood. It’s a collection of 10 horror stories set in various colleges in India. For me, the horror wasn’t scary, but the stories themselves were far more engaging,and I considered them as soft fantasy stories. They were fun and especially given the craft at work her, made for a great read.
2. 8 Stories for Businesses & Professionals by Michael Burns
I’m a little biased here. The seed of this book was sown at a McDonalds at the Bahrain airport. Michael and I were returning after conducting a workshop at the conference there and our conversation veered toward the types of stories a person would require in a business setting. We compiled a long list a questions and those became the seeds for this book. He wrote this during the first lockdown and it’s a great read for anyone who wants to understand the shape of stories, from a business use case (or otherwise).
3. Bouts of Morbidity by Shreya Sikka
I love attending Writers Retreats, because I get to meet such amazing writers. Shreya is one of them. She runs a successful poetry channel on Instagram and recently published her collection of poetry in the form of an ebook. Between the two of us, I always say that I’m quite morbid and she, well, she has her bouts. Go grab her book of poems, they are beautiful and it’ll help you see how morbidity can have a sliver of hope and light in them.
4. Home by Akshay Gajria.
While I’m recommending books by my friends, here is a book by one of my closest friends, ME! If you haven’t had a chance to read my little ebook yet, please do. I’d love to hear what you think of it.
Do you have friends who have published their books? Please do share their books with me, I’d love to know.
1. I’ve been using the Magic Keyboard for my iPad since September and I finally got a chance to review it after months of usage. And I have to say, I’m quite impressed. All my thoughts are in this piece. (It’s one of my highest read pieces)
2. I’ve been hosting the Write Time with my friend Kavya for months now, and it’s been an amazing place to get the words down. This piece was written at a Write Time talking about the wonders of showing up and getting words written down.
3. On 28th November, I finished Draft 0 of the book I’m writing. The next couple of months I’m going to take a break from my personal projects and work on writing some of the things on my professional plate. But I think I’m going to sneak in some time to write short-stories, because I enjoy pro-procrastinating while working.
While The Owler will always remain free, if you found value in it and wish to support me, you can help fuel my writing by buying me a cup of tea (or three) here.