Online Writer's Conference 2003

Shades Of Romance Magazine

August 3-9, 2003















The Value of Procrastination


Dena Dyer


Procrastinating can actually make you a better writer. Don't believe me? Visualize the word PROCRASTINATION as an acrostic, use your non-writing time wisely, and watch the assignments pile up.

rioritize--Make a list of writing projects you want to do, and number them in order of importance. Or look at your calendar and block out writing time in ink.

In Shift Your Writing Career into High Gear, Gene Perret advises writers to set a quota, such as a number of queries or pages to complete per week. "Quotas offer benefits for mature, selling writers at all levels of success," he says.

ead--Read anything you can get your hands on--the paper, a magazine or a book in your chosen genre. I like to read books on the craft of writing. They get me excited about what I do, and I usually don't finish the first few chapters before I'm compelled to sit back down at my computer and create.

rganize files--Create an illustration file or set of files, grouped by subjects. Review your files and throw out the useless fodder. Or collect and organize expenses.

reate something--When best-selling Christian author Ruthie Arnold writes, she straightens her house first. The act of creating a clean environment unclutters her mind. But other tasks can stimulate creativity, too. Cut up old photos and make a collage or a mini scrapbook. Go to the store and buy all the ingredients for a gourmet dinner, then make it.

esearch--Visit the library and look up back issues of magazines you want to query, making a list of topics not covered recently. Or peruse the Internet on topics you're writing about. I've found job leads, free newsletters and great writing-related links while procrastinating.

ttend a conference--This one takes a bit of advance planning, but it's the best way to further your writing career without actually writing. It will fuel your fire and broaden your base of writing relationships, and you just might come away with an assignment or two.  The last conference I attended led to several contracts and numerous contacts for magazine articles.

hop for books, office supplies--It's probably a sign of a warped mind, but I would love to spend an entire day by myself in a bookstore or an office supply store. Just thinking about it now makes me salivate . . .  rows and rows of literary works of art and pristine products, stacked neatly and/or alphabetically. Heaven!

alk to other writers--Ruthie Arnold recently encouraged me as we ate at a local tea room. "Writing is a lonely business," she said. "We need each other." I couldn't agree more. Have lunch with another author and compare struggles and victories. Look up a writers' group and put their next meeting on your calendar.  Visit  and join a list of fellow freelancers. It just might provide the encouragement you need to get started again.

deas--Spend some time brainstorming, or go to the mall and people-watch. Be open to the possibilities that your best ideas may be right beside you.

etwork--Join a writer's group, a writing critique service, or a writing circle. Find a writer's website with valuable resources, and plunge in. Be bold, be honest and be open to new friends and opportunities.

sk questions--My husband is an inquisitive person. He asks questions of every person he meets, in every field. I call him a "sponge," and I admire that quality immensely in him. He finds something interesting in each human being. We writers need more of that in our own lives.

ake a nap--Once, when I heard Henry Blackaby speak on knowing God intimately, he said something I've always remembered: "Sometimes, the most spiritual thing you can do is to rest." Since I'm a champion napper, and I can sleep the day away if you'd let me, I like that advice. Our bodies need a recharge once in a while, and rest is a God-given battery charger.

nd the procrastination--After a while, if you want to be a published writer (I hate to say it, but you know it's true), you simply have to write. John Dwyer, a successful Christian novelist, says, "Most people want to have written, but they don't want to write." How true--I want the end results without all the sacrifice and hard work. But most rewarding things in life, like marriage, children, Christian service, published works, mean commitment and stick-to-it-iveness.

In her book I'd Rather Be Writing, Marcia Golub notes, "If writing is what you love, then . . .you will make sacrifices to do it, not because you're a martyr but because of a secret you and I share--writing is a deep pleasure."

Dena Dyer is a writer, actress and speaker with credits in over 125 magazines, including Woman's World, Today's Christian Woman, Writer's Digest, Christian Reader and Discipleship Journal. She has also contributed to several books. For more information, visit her website ().