I’m deep into my revisions for my WIP, Blessings, and if there’s one thing everyone needs when it comes to revision, it’s this: Ways to (productively) procrastinate.
“What do I mean?” you ask, tossing your golden/raven/auburn/brown (sorry, brown haired people) locks. “Procrastination cannot be productive, one must simply push on! Also, have you been reading Mary Poppins today? Because I sound unaccountably British.”
Yes, yes, I read the whole book in under twenty-four hours. Anyway. When I talk about productive procrastination, I mean forms of procrastination that will keep your creative juices flowing whilst requiring minimum brain cells.
Bonus: All these forms of procrastination don’t even require you to leave your beloved computer!
Make a board (or tag) and go nuts. I’m not talking just finding images that look like your characters. I’m talking build your whole world. You see a dress that looks vaguely like your main character? Post it. You see a picture of a door or window that could have come from your novel’s setting? Pin it. Your story has a masquerade in it? Collect ALL the masks.
I can’t tell you how many ideas I get just from looking for pictures that feel like they belong to certain projects. Sometimes I even use them as writing prompts.
(Also: Have a board/tag that’s for random, interesting stuff. I collect anything that looks like it has a story, and whenever I need inspiration or start a new project I dig through my old collections and find gold.)
With awesome avenues like Spotify and Pandora (and YouTube channels), it’s really easy to create an awesome playlist for your project. Develop an ear to catch anything that sounds like a part of your story or a certain character—or even something that just sounds like the places your characters move through and interact with (my characters travel in a faerie world, and the Paper Kites’ Willow Tree March perfectly captures the sound of that world).
In addition to project playlists, I like having a collection of movie soundtracks for a less noisy writing background sound (Snow White and the Huntsman and The Secret of Kells have a lovely fairytale feel, for instance).
4. Wallpapers/Cover Art/Fan Art
If you can draw, God bless you, and hopefully you’re already sketching a lot. But even if you can’t, there are plenty of ways to create beautiful and inspiring pictures with a little GIMP (free!) or PhotoShop (free trial, yay?). Put that Pinterest board to use and make yourself a wallpaper or photo collage. Get your typography on and play around with cover art.
Just remember, if you post this publicly you need to have permission from the artists/photographers, and never ever post something that’s not yours without crediting properly.
4. Dress up dolls.
Make your own characters and scenes using flash dress up dolls! I know it sounds crazy, but you wouldn’t believe how addictive (and therapeutic?) this is. This is a good exercise to really visualize your character. You might know what color her hair is, but do you know what type of face shape she has, or if her eyebrows are arched, or if she prefers gold or silver shoes?
Bonus: A fun activity is to take your character out of her/his setting/time period and try dressing them in a completely different fashion. Do you know what your fantasy character would look like if she showed up in the 1920’s?
5. Commission an artist.
Do you lack all artistic skill? Do you want to see your character without putting a whole lot of time into it? Then commission an artist! Everyone knows artists are starving and occasionally emerge from their caves to beg for pennies. (Disclaimer: This is a stereotype, and I am told artists actually aren’t all beggars and many have access to showers, thank goodness.)
There’s a whole huge range in commissioning types and prices. DeviantArt is a good place to look for open commissions, and often you can find something in your price range (even if you’re a starving artist, too).
(Pictured at the top of the post: Commission of my main character by Lostie815.)
What about you? What are things you do to productively procrastinate? Leave a comment below!