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C10P51 – Plink

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Procrastination is a weird thing. I know that sometimes it’s rooted in fear, but I’ve also learned that there’s a gut hesitancy that my subconscious induces when I need to think something over more. It’s just sometimes hard to tell the two types of procrastination-inducing feelings apart.

I’ve got the script for chapter 11 all written. It’s one of my favorite chapters to date. I really like how it turned out, and I’m very excited to start it, except…

…I can’t seem to start it.

And I’m not sure why. Is it just that Kickstarter has got me so stressed out that my energy is low? Is there some aspect of world-building that needs shoring up before I dive into this part of the story? (I know at least a little bit of that is true — we’re going to a new city and I’ve been making maps and am in the middle of a physical model.) Is there something wrong with the script, and even though I’ve read over it many times now, I’m missing some massive flaw? Or is it just plain, ordinary fear? Not necessarily fear of failure, but just a vague fear of the unknown.

I’m always stuck before beginnings. It’s like I have to brace myself for the challenge of starting something. Hunker down, evaluate the distance, make plans and contingencies, and THEN, only then, can I launch myself from the starting line. I wish I could get to the launch faster, but I wonder if that procrastination is actually an important part of the process? Maybe there’s a reason for my natural resistance?

What do you think the purpose of procrastination is, and does it have a place in the creative process?


Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

I’ve all kinds of ideas about what he did to them :p I can’t wait to find out!

Well, if you can’t seem to get started on it, maybe a couple weeks of filler? More about the culture, different towns, native dress, so forth? That might give you time to either unstress, or figure out the gliche.

Ooooh do I know how you feel about procrastination.

I think procrastination can be both an ally and an enemy. On the one hand, putting things off a while lets your brain mull over it even if you aren’t actively thinking about it, and I’ve found plot holes in my story ideas that way. On the other hand, though… if you let anxiety set in along with procrastination, it can stop you in your tracks.

(And I’m a total hypocrite, because I’m pretty sure that’s I’ve gotten myself saddled with the last situation. There’s always the thought of – “What if there’s something I’ve missed? What if I get to the point of no return AND THERE’S SOMETHING HORRIBLY WRONG AND IT’S TOO LATE TO GO BACK AND OH NOOOOO!”)

I’d say just have Cory go over it with you and if you can’t find a big problem together it may be anxiety.

Also: I think the tenth panel, where DreamZhiro’s smiling like that? Amazing. What a smug ****hole. XD

That’s a really good point! I had Cory go over it and he agrees it’s one of my best scripts yet. So maybe we’re in anxiety territory, not work territory…

…which, thinking on it now, with everything going on, makes complete sense. Maybe I should take a day to just…let things chill for once. Try and address the anxiety I have about EVERYTHING right now, and I bet it would magically go away for LeyLines too.

Procrastination in creativity… I’ve never really thought about it as procrastination and more as writer’s block (I guess artist’s block since you’re a comic creator?). Usually whenever I run up against it I have a scene that’s being stubborn or my mind is working on something REALLY REALLY STINKING IMPORTANT in the back of my mind that will be starting up in the immediate future of the scene. There was a very major break that happened where I didn’t have anything new for like a year despite knowing that I needed to keep working. By the time that the story was able to start flowing properly again I was able to finish the first draft in like a year.

So…. maybe your brain knows there’s something SUPER awesome that you could do, that you’d need to start the set up for now so it can make sense later?
IDK, I can’t speak for your mind, but I do agree with Galdethriel; Let Cory have a look and be the sounding board of awesomeness.

That’s often been my experience too, at least with creative things. (TAXES, on the other hand…)

I try to procrastinate productively at least. Channel that urge to NOT do something into doing other things that are important, but lower priority. (My kitchen has not looked this clean in years…I’d forgotten the inside of my microwave was that white…)

And it sounds like you and I write similarly. I knew that Chapter 11 was coming up, and I’ve been mulling over it for months and months now, but I just couldn’t seem to start writing it. When I did finally sit down, I wrapped it up in two days, and it has only needed minor editing.

Know thyself, thy procrastination, and thy writer’s block… 😉

My mom has been a procrastinator for as long as I can remember, which means it has become a habit of mine, which is NOT helpful when I have to get started on a boring school project.

As for procrastinating’s purpose in the creative process, it only serves to cause anxiety for those who suffer from it: both the makers of hit webcomics, and the readers.

I’ve found that if I understand the underlying reasons for my procrastination, it can actually be a very helpful instinct. Hence why I’m hesitant to just brute-force my way through the resistance feeling, because I’ve done damage that way before.

However, it’s only useful when it’s managed well, and when it gets out of control I’ve seen it do the same things you have. Sometimes it eats creative people alive! All things in moderation, I guess!

I think that the motto for the American Procrastination Society (we’ll be filing the papers any year now) goes:

“Never put off for tomorrow what you can put off ’till next week.”

Get in on the ground floor! No matter how long it takes one to get around to becoming an APS member, you can still become a Founding Member!

A procrastination/block streak is, to me, usually a sign that something IS very wrong with the story, and it just needs some more time to be worked on.

On the other hand, beginnings are also loaded with pressure. So that could be some of it.

(Also, I think it’s really hardcore that you build physical models of your stuff.)

Having spent a good portion of the day evaluating it and discussing it with all of you, I think it’s Life Anxiety ganging up with Beginning Pressure. So I’m trying to address the first part, hoping it will relieve some of the latter. Doing some art studies I’ve been putting off, taking care of minor chores, reading. I’m already feeling the “make more pages!” itch returning…

And I don’t know if I’m hardcore so much as my brain is not quite up to the challenge of taking my 2-D maps and turning them into 3-D maps in my head. If I can just have an actual 3-D object, then I don’t have to tie my brain into so many knots!

That panel 10 expression IS really awesome. All of the Dream-Eater-Zhiro expressions, really.

I think sometimes the chapters we like the most are the hardest to get moving on, just because of thinking along the lines of “oh man, this chapter is awesome, I really really hope I do it justice and don’t screw it up!” Not fear of failure so much as… stage fright? I’ll probably still look back at the chapter two years later and pick out all the things I could have done better.. but doing webcomics is (very slowly) teaching me that you have to work with what you have at the time, and it’s okay for it to be less than Perfect. (now, if I could only convince myself that that also applies to prose writing, I might have that novel first draft or three finished by now…)

I am still working on coming to grips with procrastination in general… I still feel guilty over it even when it HAS served a purpose, like you said – in instances where I’ve realized something I need to fix, or thought of something even better to add in. With procrastination that I know is the boredom-inspired- or fear-of-failure-type, sometimes it helps me to do little ritualized things to get the energy moving in the right direction, so to speak. “I don’t have to tackle THAT THING I don’t want to do right now, but maybe I’ll clear off the desk and set everything up to work on it anyway…” ..so that when I come back to it it’s all ready to go, and it’s easier to just do the thing than to not do it. Don’t know quite how that would work with a computer-based workflow, though.

Right now I’m working ahead on pages, which is awesome because I can use procrastination as a tool to get more stuff done (like your cleaning, which is also a thing I do.. though mine is usually more compulsive organizing). If I have a page I really don’t want to work on, sometimes I’ll work on, say, the fun character drawings on the next page. It still feels like procrastinating because I’m doing “fun” things instead of the Thing That Is On The Schedule, but I’m still getting ahead on comic work. It’s less helpful a tactic when you’re at the very beginning of a chapter and have limited options for things to work on, though…

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