Friday, August 5, 2016

Guest Post: Judy Penz Sheluk on "The Fine Art of Procrastination"

In addition to writing short stories, SMFS member Judy Penz Sheluk writes novels. Like the rest of us, she procrastinates when she should be writing. Below are her top five ways of doing so.



Judy Penz Sheluk: The Fine Art of Procrastination


I’m going to let you in on a secret: I procrastinate, even when I have a deadline looming large—or perhaps because I do and suddenly it all begins to feel a bit overwhelming. Here are my top 5 ways to fritter away the time I should spend writing:

Pinterest: Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest. If I’m looking for a recipe, or how-to build a wood shed, Pinterest is the first place I look. I have 26 boards relating to movies, books, TV shows, running, golf—the list goes on—and because my profile is linked to my author website, occasionally Pinterest will bring me some traffic. But Pinterest can also be a place where I spend way too much time pinning pins instead of spinning a yarn.

Facebook: The original time suck! I used to have an author page only, so I could justify the time spent finding and scheduling posts. In February 2015, Facebook changed the rules and everyone with an author page had to have it linked to a personal page. Now I’m able to double the time I spend on Facebook…of course, on the plus side, I’ve made a lot of new friends!

Googling Under the Guise of Research: Research is as much a part of writing as the actual writing; some might even argue it’s more important. After all, one wrong fact and you’ve lost the trust of your reader. It’s when I start googling things like “was there a full moon on May 1, 1980, when my protagonist, Callie Barnstable was born?” That might be important to know if I was writing a vampire series. I’m not.

Who was that actor in that TV show I watched last night and why can’t I remember what he/she was in before?: The ultimate mind niggle that won’t let go. It happened to me recently, when I was marathon watching the excellent series, Friday Night Lights (I don’t know how I missed it originally). There’s an actor, Gaius Charles, who played Brian “Smash” Williams, and I’m thinking…where do I know him from? I’m running the shows I regularly watch in my mind, and saying, nope, nope, nope, when suddenly I remember: Grey’s Anatomy. He was Dr. Shane Ross. This of course, leads me to do another google. You never know when Gaius Charles trivia can come in handy.

Office Cleanup: Cleaning up my desk drawer, sorting my paperclips by color (because what self-respecting author would have those plain metal paperclips), tidying up my bookshelf, typing up labels for my file folders using a different font…

What’s not procrastination (even when sometimes it feels like it is)? Writing blog posts, like this one, to help promote my latest novel, SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC. So, without further ado, here’s the blurb. Now, before I get back to my work in progress, I just have to get back to sorting my paperclips.

Judy’s latest release is Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in the Marketville Mysteries:
What goes on behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there…

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.

Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?


SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC is now available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle for the special introductory price of .99 (reg. $4.99). Find it here :http://getbook.at/SkeletonsintheAttic

Judy Penz Sheluk ©2016

Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, was published in July 2015. Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in her Marketville Mystery Series, was published in August 2016.

Judy’s short crime fiction appears in World Enough and Crime, The Whole She-Bang 2, Flash and Bang and Live Free or Tri.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers and the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

Find Judy on her website/blog at http://www.judypenzsheluk.com, where she interviews other authors and blogs about the writing life.

19 comments:

Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

Thanks for hosting me on the SMFS blog! I'm happy to answer any questions and I promise not to procrastinate too much!

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you, Judy for being here.

Some of these also get me during my very limited writing time. Twitter and Facebook are the worst closely followed by Googleplus and the big thing called LIFE.

Art Taylor said...

Oh, Judy! Except for Pinterest, those are exactly some of the things that end up pulling me (letting me pull myself) away from my writing. Way too easy, as you know. Congratulations again on the new book!

Kristina Stanley said...

Twitter and Facebook are what nudge into time I should be spending writing. I don't use Pinterest much. Once in a while I look at dog photos. Google - well - that's a biggy, but like you say, it's time spent researching... The only problem is the weird ads I get based on what I research.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Twitter and You Tube are my black holes. Congrats on your upcoming release!

Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

Kevin and Art, it's good to know you procrastinate too! Kristina, it's when the research gets crazy (and yes, definitely one of my last wishes is "Delete Browser History." Joanne, I mostly avoid YouTube...thankfully or I"d never get anything done!
Thanks all for stopping by and taking the time to comment and thanks for all your good wishes.

Kathleen Costa said...

I loved reading an ARC of Skeletons in the Attic...highly recommended! I used it to make my procrastination fun!

Jan Christensen said...

I procrastinate by keeping up with the news and reading books. I don't get to Facebook every day, and sometimes go for days without even looking at it, then when I do go there, I usually end up spending nearly an hour catching up. Then, as Kevin says, there's life. I have figured out that I procrastinate most often when I feel overwhelmed. The trick for helping with that seems to just set a small amount of time aside to work on what you need to do until it's finished.

Larry Chavis said...

Judy, your second and third (Facebook and Google-sidetracking) are my primary time-sucks. Great blog!

Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

Thank you Kathleen Costa! I am looking forward to reading your review in King's River Life later this month!

Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

Jan, you are bang on. The busier I am, the more I find shiny things to distract me!

Larry: thank you for your kind words about the blog. It's good to know I'm not alone, but I wager no one has the amount of Gaius Charles trivia that I do!

Kaye George said...

I subscribe to the NYTimes crosswords online, AND they come with 3 Sudokus and a mini-puzzle every day. If you want to add that to your methods, it can eat up the time! Thanks for the fun post.

Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

Crosswords. YES! Love them. And Word Jumbles in the Toronto Star. I have never figured out Sudoku, thank heavens! Thanks Kaye for stopping by to comment.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Never tried Sudoku, but have done a few crossword puzzles over the years. I find them very frustrating. I get about halfway or so and then that is it. I can come up with all sorts of perfectly good words that are not acceptable due to space limitations while never thinking of the one word the sadistic creator believes to be the one true word.

You who enjoy crosswords need help and should see your doctor or other medical professional immediately.

Kevin
(who is very fast doing word searches and they have been proven to illustrate a brilliant mind)

Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

My dad and I used to the the TV Guide crossword every Sunday morning. He insisted we do it in pen, vs. pencil, and I still do my crosswords in pen. It was a great way to learn new words as a kid. And there were always the same clues, like, An Elevated Railway (Answer: El). Very fond memories, now that I think about it. We also used to do paint-by-numbers on Sunday mornings. Sadly, even my paint-by-number drawings were bad! Not much of an artist. But it was fun.

Kaye George said...

I'm terrible at Sudoku--that's why I do it, to stretch my brain. I "think" I'm getting better.
Kevin, the object is to master the things you're not good at out of the gate. At first, the only NYT puzzle I could do was the Monday one. They get harder each day. You're right, Judy, you do get the hand of them and learn that "ani" is cuckoo and "ra" is the sun god. Things like that.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I never even tried the NYT one. It was the one in the Dallas Morning News, the local paper, that I would try as my Mom worked them. I just don't have a brain for that. You people who are into it need help.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Social media is the ultimate time suck as far as I'm concerned. I've really had to cut down so that I can get more writing done. Of course, we do need to let readers know that we actually exist as well. It's a balancing act to be sure. We also need a personal life. Just handling the basics of daily existence demands a lot of time. I find getting up early and writing while it's quiet helps me accomplish more.

Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

You are so right Jacqueline. Recently I spent 2 1/2 weeks at our cabin on Lake Superior. No social media. Wrote every day for 3-4 hours and ended up with about 30,000 words. So it wasn't just the time -- I often spend more than that on writing -- but the clear headedness. Since I've been back, my output has declined drastically. And what's even more ironic -- I had a Facebook post go viral with about 20,000 hits. Unfortunately, it wasn't one that promoted my book(s), but it did say something along the lines of "Do an author a favor and tell someone about their book."