Spring into… Inaction?

Procrastination seems to be a common theme when “the writing process” is broached, but I think that (at least for me) “procrastination” may actually just be “inaction” (i.e. not actively writing).  However, the truth is that one of the biggest parts of my writing process is not doing any writing at all– so it is indiscernible from procrastination.  But I actually spend hours, days, weeks, sometimes even months just thinking (and thinking and thinking) about whatever it is I want to write about.  I do research.  I think about the research.  I think about what I think of the research.  I think you get the point.

This is a step of the writing process I feel is never taught in school, but is, at least for me, the most important part.  Some people need brainstorming, freewriting, drafting, or outlining, but everyone needs to think about what they want to write.  But how can you prove someone is thinking?  All that written prep-work can serve as gradable proof for a teacher that you’ve not just been procrastinating sans thought, which is perhaps why it’s emphasized.  But it makes procrastination the four letter word of writing, which just doesn’t seem fair.  My visible inaction was frowned upon, and I was often forced to do the written steps that (for me) just meant busy work that took away from precious thinking time.

I think the most important takeaway from a discussion on writing processes is that they can vary wildly from person to person.  With this in mind, we can eliminate the four letter words of writing and reclaim “procrastination” (and all our other writing quirks) that make our writing successful– and unique.


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1 Comment »

  • Julianne Candio-Sekel says:

    I think you make an important point in saying that part of the writing process is thinking about or planning and revising your thoughts without even making notes on a page. A big part of prewriting is this period of contemplation that often contributes to a well-developed paper. Only we can decide when we are “ready” to write, which may not imply procrastination at all, but rather contemplation.


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