Why Can’t I Stop Tweaking My Book?

Old TypewriterEvery day I get up and intend to do more writing than I did yesterday. We’re all friends here, so I can let you in on a little secret, right? Okay…here goes…I haven’t written a word of new fiction yet this year. At least not for one of my novels. I’ve hacked together some changes on a screenplay my writing partner and I are honing, but nothing on any kind of novel. Not one word. There, now that it’s out in “public”, it feels a lot better…or a lot worse, I can’t decide. What I have done this year, however, is tweak the heck out of my marketing approach for Tempted.

I found an amazing consultant to help me with cover design. We re-did the typography from the ground up. It’s a huge improvement over my first attempt. The text doesn’t bleed back into the cover. The title pops. It just looks great. I’ve looked at the blurb twenty or so times to see if I can make it better. I am badly in need of a new author bio. The one I have is just plain awful. All these things are important, and will hopefully one day drive a few sales my way, but they are symptoms of a much bigger problem: I’m procrastinating. Now, to those of you that know me personally, procrastinating is a talent I’ve honed to a fine art. Sometimes, however, it pays to ask yourself why you keep going back to the already released book instead of working on the completed draft that needs a polish or forging ahead with the new novel that’s been bouncing around in your head for months.

I’ve wondered if it’s because I don’t like the idea for the western I’m planning, but that’s not true. I am very excited about it. Some days, I can’t wait to finish up my day job so I can get cracking on it. But then, the next thing you know, I look up and it’s 10:30. Now, I wrote most of Tempted (and my new completed draft that I really need to name so I can start referring to it by name instead of ‘completed draft’…that won’t sell many books) after 10:00 PM. I’ve never had much luck writing first thing in the morning. For a while I made an appointment with myself every day to write in the afternoon. Maybe that’s what I need to do again. After all, it worked for a little while…until I found myself slipping back into my old “just go crank it out before bed” routine.

On my Twitter profile, there are three words: Writer, dreamer, procrastinator. I guess I need to focus more on moving the third word back to its intended location and stop letting it drift forward in the hierarchy. Tweaking Tempted is nice, and I’ll never be completely finished with that book, but I can’t let it serve as cover for what it has actually become: procrastination about writing the next story. Does anyone else do this? Hide procrastination in the guise of a different kind of “work”? I’d be interested to hear about it…

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