Using work to procrastinate – Procrastination can keep you busy.
Yesterday, I wrote about being scared of success and the many ways in which we avoid change in our lives, even at the cost of our own success. Today I want to add to the topic. Procrastination is a way in which we can avoid change or sabotage our success. While many may think that procrastination is more related to lack of doing or putting things off, this is only a part of it. You can use work to procrastinate and procrastination can keep you busy.
It may seem a contradiction, but it is just different sides of the same coin. You can use tons of chores, projects, activities, and keep yourself busy in other assignments to avoid change. All of this is a form of procrastination, as the busier you keep yourself with other projects, you will not have to face the one that may change your present situation.
Procrastination in the shape of work is a soft and hidden form of self-sabotage and one that we should be aware of as it can trick us into believing that we are working hard towards our success when the opposite is true – we are working hard to avoid change/success.
Pieces of You
When writing a story, inevitably there are pieces of you that leak out, whether an idea, a belief, an opinion, a memory, something you like, something you hate, someone you know, a personality trait of someone you know, an event, a pet, or anything at all that might be connected to you in some way, these are all pieces of You.
Sometimes, we might take a memory from the past and think, What if? What if instead of moving to Jersey I would have moved to Italy? The possibilities of using what if’s in our story are many, and each open doors to the infinite, as far as the imagination can go.
Although the story comes from the writer’s inspiration and hand, little pieces of reality color the black and white pages.
Writing for a Higher Purpose
Why do you write? Have you ever thought about it? Many writers dream to see their work published, or the movie come out, and their name in the best seller’s list. This is all good, and striving for the best should always be there in our most important to do list. However, we run into problems when this is all we care about, and all we strive for – becoming published and known. When you put such amount of pressure on yourself, creativity will suffer. When your focus becomes something else outside writing, and your attention leaves the page, your work suffers. When being published becomes more important than writing, you have lost yourself as a writer.
When listening to best-selling author’s being interviewed, most of them express that they love to write, and they would not have it any other way. They are thrilled at how things have turned around for them, but number one seems to be the love for writing. And by loving what they do, and doing what they love, the money seems to come at the right time.
You may think writers have to eat too. And that is the absolute truth, however, you can make an income without losing focus. It is when your attention is taken away from the story and put on the $$$ that your work will become weak.
Why not write for a Higher Purpose instead?
When a Book Happens
When does a book happen? I thought about that for a while. Many writers have manuscripts piled, many rejected, others awaiting completion, others just waiting … stories waiting to be read. This got me thinking, a story has been put into paper, in a way it has been told, even if it has not been read yet by many. In that sense, a story brews in the writer’s mind and it is born once it is put on paper (or PC). A book is more complicated than that. A book is born when it is read – a book happens when someone reads it. The story has been dormant for how many years it might have taken, and the simple act of reading awakens it.
What came first, the book or the movie?
Usually a book is written and the movie follows, but with The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks, it was a different case. In an interview with Borders, Nicholas Sparks said that he was writing the screenplay at the same time that he was writing the book. They wanted to release the movie fast so he actually was writing the screenplay first. I thought that was amazing, and it must have required so much on his part. I wonder how many best-selling authors would be able to do that if asked. In my humble opinion, even that it is the same story, there are such different environments, that the process of writing the book would be affected. Obviously, this did not happen to him, and I admire him for being able to do this. I am sure that his fans and the movie fans as well thank him for doing this.
So, what came first the book or the movie? In the case of The Last Song, it seems that the movie came first.
James Patterson – Genius of all Trades
I cannot think any other way when thinking about Best-selling author James Patterson – the man is a genius, not only as a writer but as a business man in the writing business. He seems to know what readers want, and he seems to love what he does. I love his lay-back demure and every time I see him being interviewed he conveys this message thru his attitude and personality – “All is well” – no matter the deadlines and pressures of everyday living – “All is well.” He is truly the Valium of all writers. If I feel a bit crazy and anxious about what’s going on at the moment or any projects, I play an online interview with James Patterson, and it truly relaxes me. It may sound weird, but it works for me. You should give it a try, if you are feeling tense with your work or any other daily craziness.
James Patterson is a Genius of all trades. He has managed to please and captivate readers of all ages and literary likes. Here is an example of what I mean. With Miracle on the 17th Green, he manages to be inspirational. He manages to capture young readers with the Maximun Ride series, and gives them kid adventure. Worst Case is for the mystery lovers, who like cops and homicide cases. Witch and Wizard is loved by kids and young adults, but by adults too. Is there anything he can’t do?
One thing is for sure, the man knows what he is doing, and he is an inspiration to aspiring writers.
A Reader’s Game
At one point, you probably have asked yourself – “How do best-selling authors do it?” “How do they keep their readers coming back for more?”
An easy answer to that question is with another question – What keeps us coming back to our favorite authors?
However, part of their magic is that they know how to play the reader’s game – they challenge their readers. They give them more of what they want, but at the same time, best-selling authors seem to know when to stop, and how to encourage readers to look for more inside the story. They feed the story slowly, and they give the readers morsels of mystery and awe, of emotion and feeling, and the readers love the game.
But most important is that they seem to love the game of writing as well, they love what they do, they are true to the story and their characters, and they respect their readers.
The other day, I was watching a silent movie from the 1920’s called Metropolis. It lasted for over an hour, and I was surprised that it kept me interested despite not having any words or sounds, just the occasional line on the screen. The movie was full of symbolism, both, religious and political, and reflected many trends of the time. I was glued to it, at one point. Then, I started thinking, what is it about this silent movie that captivated my attention?
Soon, I understood, it was the symbolism throughout, despite no words. Then, I thought that this same principle is applied in writing. In writing, when words don’t suffice, a writer must use symbolism to keep the reader interested. A writer must keep the reader discovering.
This certainly brought a new awareness to my writing, and the funny part is that it came from a silent movie.
Of Books and Movies
There seems to be two teams of authors when we talk about books and movies. The authors who enjoy the process of working and collaborating in the making of their best seller into a movie, and the authors who will leave the process entirely up to the director and the movie industry. However, there is one unifying and common opinion of both groups – both agree that movies are a complete different animal, and as long as the integrity of the story is kept, they can deal with any other changes.
I tend to agree with this. If a movie where to be made exactly as a book was written, it would actually be boring on-screen. A movie needs a soul of its own, and that is what Directors do best – they give a different kind of life to the written word, a reincarnation (if you can call it that), a second incarnation for the book lovers where they can appreciate other levels and dimensions of the same story.
The Magic of Best-selling Authors
What is the key to enchanting writing? What is the secret of best-selling authors? I am sure that most of us, at one point, have been captivated with a book from a favorite author – being that person a best-selling author or not. How do best-selling authors get to captivate so many readers? It seems natural to think that they plan their writing and target a certain section of the population to obtain readership. Right?
This could not be further from the truth. While being interviewed many best-selling authors have said that they write for themselves – as in the case of Stephenie Meyer or Lee Child. They say that they are honest to the story when writing, and they keep honest to the reader. They seem to be of the opinion that if you evoke feelings in yourself when writing the story, you will evoke feelings on the reader as well. Another trend is that they also mention how blessed they feel to be doing what they love – to write.
So there is no big secret of best-selling authors. It seems that they write with passion for themselves – and they love it.