Thursday, July 31, 2014

Getting a Handle on Procrastination - Rose Ross Zediker

Rose Ross Zediker

It’s the end of the month. How much writing did you get done? Did you get as much writing done as you’d hoped? Were your monthly goals or word count quota met?

If you answered no, none, not much or very little, it’s time to find out if you’re a procrastinator.  Score the following questions using the key below.

Hardly Ever
Continually checking email, blogs, social media during writing time
Noticing that you make little or no progress from day to day on your writing project
Collected research for your writing project sitting untouched for weeks on your desk or shelf
Goals or writing tasks 'float' through your monthly/weekly/daily to-do lists without being handled
Scheduling writing time then generating excuses or rescheduling once the time arrives
Staying up late in a mad dash to complete your manuscript before the deadline
Waiting for the perfect time when you can devote your complete attention to your writing
Not wanting to begin writing until you are prepared enough to do it "perfectly"

How did you do?

If you scored 0-8, you are in control of procrastination and put importance on your writing output. Good Job!

A score of 9-16 shows you have a few areas to improve on. Take a look at any 3 or 4 scores and consider ways to improve them. For instance, set a timer for thirty minutes when perusing online. When the timer chimes, stop and write.

While not a big problem a 17-24 score says procrastination hinders several aspects of your writing output. Stop and consider why this is happening. Are you overwhelmed with the amount of information on the occupation you chose for your hero’s career? Try breaking it down into manageable categories, education required for the job, environment required for the job, etc.

Hopefully you didn’t fall into the 25-32 score range where procrastination is significantly decreasing your writing production. If you did fall into this category it’s time to take a good hard look at the way you are spending your writing time. The only way to produce a manuscript is to write!

I hope you had fun taking this little quiz and that it helped you place an importance on your writing career and the time you spend writing.


Rose is giving away a copy of her August release, Sweet on the Cowgirl.


Laura Barnes Wants to Be a Cowgirl Laura has always dreamed of being a trick rider in her family's Wild West show. But her father will only allow her to perform if she disguises herself as Mr. Buckskin Jones. When soda-pop king Guy Roberts shows up to do business with her family, Laura is torn between keeping her identity under wraps and revealing her growing feelings for Guy. Guy is drawn to Laura's poise and beauty, but he, too, guards a secret. As their affection for each other grows, Guy begins to think about a future that includes Laura. When both their secrets suddenly come to light, their romance will face the ultimate showdown.

Bio: Rose Ross Zediker writes contemporary and historical inspirational romances for Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents line of books.

Rose works full time at the University of South Dakota and writes during the evening or weekends.
Besides writing inspirational romance novels, Rose has many publishing credits in the Christian children’s genre. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.


Helen Gray said...

Hi Rose!

I think I probably fall in that 9-16 range. Which applies to more areas than just writing. :)

Had company all weekend, which is great. It means extra work and time lost, but time with the kids is always worth it.

Along with my good news that my local Wal Mart now has a small Harlequin book rack is bad news. The manager is leaving. I'm happy that he has gotten a bigger store in a bigger town, but I hate to lose him because he's been so supportive of me.

Coffee's set to brew.

The Artist Librarian said...

Aw, I scored a 17 (applied it toward my school habits and my writing for my blog). My biggest pitfalls are social media and "floating" my goals or tasks. Thanks for the quiz! I think we all need to analyze ourselves from time to time. =)

Narelle Atkins said...

Hi Rose,

Your quiz is timely, since today has been a day of writing distractions. I find I procrastinate more when I'm getting back into my wip after a break. Once I'm back in the zone, I'm pretty good at sticking to my schedule.

Helen, it's great to hear your local Walmart store is now stocking a range of Harlequin books :) I hope the new manager is really supportive of your writing and books.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Helen, thanks for the coffee!!!!

Love it!!!!

Narelle, that's such a good point. It's great to go away, but I find it messes up the week prior, the week you're gone, and then the week you come back because you have to do the catch up on what didn't get done while you were gone (dirty socks, feet, dishes, dogs, bedding, etc. comes to mind around here!!!)

And then you slide into the routine. Three weeks is a lot of down time for any of us!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Artist Librarian, I love that you looked at the quiz as a whole picture!!!! You rock!

And that's a solid score actually for a young person these days... I'm snifflin' with pride over here! :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I know I'm a stinkin' broken record, but that 1K/day will keep your score where you want it to be: Non-existent. Sometimes people avoid the computer because they're not sure what to write next... well, we've all been there, done that, and the trick is to WRITE SOMETHING.

So if you ax it out later, you've practiced your craft, you've developed story points and you've done something!!!!

Oh my dears, doing something is so often better than doing NOTHING!!!!


Jessica Nelson said... worse failing. *le sigh*

Thanks for the uplifting post and quiz!

Helen, I need that coffee! Yay! lol

kaybee said...

Well I scored a 14 which isn't great, but the quiz shed light on some areas where I could improve. I'm not as good as I could be at "scheduling" writing time, but I'm good at grabbing it when it comes along. I am on vac. from the newspaper this week and set a goal to work on my "real" writing, got four chapters reworked and edited, feel good about that but could always do more. I've been taking printouts out to the lake with me and editing them with a red pen and typing in the changes when I get back, kind of old-school but I don't want to hassle with the laptop. Fortunately, the things I procrastinate on the most have nothing to do with writing. I keep a clean house and I exercise, so that's that. What REALLY gets me down is paperwork. It takes me forever to deal with insurance forms, checkbook balancing etc., and my husband is even worse. You could paper a room with our unopened mail. Hey, in the 50s and 60s published writers used to tell unpubbed writers not to be discouraged and that they themselves could "paper a room with rejection slips." HA! Now that we're paperless you can't do that, which I guess is something.
Kathy Bailey

kaybee said...

PLUS my sister and I are still dealing with my father's stuff and he died 2 1/2 years ago. Sheesh. I put off a lot of other things more than I do the writing, which I guess is something to be grateful for. I'll take it, anyway.
Going to the mountains with my daughter and expect to come back and be refreshed enough to tackle more chapters. Leastways That Is The Plan.

kaybee said...

I made blueberry cobbler. It is good with either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Warm it first and let the blueberries melt into the crust and the whipped cream or ice cream ooze into the berries...goes well with Helen's coffee...

Kav said...

Nooooooo...don't make me take a test first think in the morning. At least let me butter my bagel first. There. That's better. Okay -- so I'd score a perfect (well not-so perfect) score of 32 if I applied this to writing after 3:00 p.m. I turn into a pumpkin by mid afternoon and there's nothing I can do about it -- except make sure I get my writing in before 3:00 p.m. Preferably early morning. I'm least likely to procrastinate before noon, it becomes a bit of struggle between noon and three and then after three forget it.

Mary Hicks said...

I don't have a problem with my writing schedule except when I feel guilty for not doing the OTHER things that need doing! :-)

I try to do the 1K thing too, Ruthy. It works for me.

But I don't have small children in the house—that has to make a huge difference.

Rose said...

Good Morning, Seekerville!

I thought a quiz would be a fun little in everyone's busy week.

And hopefully it's helpful too.

Thursdays are always busy at my day job, but I'll try to check in during day to answer any questions.

Rose said...

Hi Helen,

Man, that's the pits about the manager leaving. He WAS very good to you!

I was happy to see you received your author copies!

Rose said...

Hi Narelle,

I have the same problem with procrastination. If I've stopped for any reason, it's hard for me to get back into the swing.

Rose said...

Artist Librarian,

I do think it's good to analyze our habits from time to time just to keep a handle on our goals.

Like Ruthy said, if you just stick to writing 1K a day, you always meet your writing goals.

But keeping up with social media is more fun than actual work, isn't it?

Rose said...


It sounds like you are really using your time to the fullest, even if you feel it's old school.

Right now, I'm dragging my Surface to work and trying to read two chapters of my manuscript as a final proof so I can use my time in the evening to write. Every little bit helps.

Rose said...

Hi KAV!!!!

I think it's great that you know what time of the day is the most productive for you.

Mary Curry said...

I would be procrastinating even more if I took this quiz, right? I really don't need to humiliate myself. I can tell just looking that I will be off the charts.

Thanks, Rose. It's a timely reminder. Now, off to work with me.

Rose said...

Hi Jessica,

Procrastination is a problem for everyone from time to time.

Rose said...

Mary Hicks,

You bring up an excellent point. We can't all share the same type of writing schedule because we are different stages in our lives.

I don't have children at home either, but I can tell you when I did it was harder to get writing done. And I'm the first one to tell you if you've been up all night with a sick a child and need nap verses writing...take the nap. We need to keep ourselves healthy and I know I can write quality words when I'm tired.

Mary Curry said...

But before I leave, I'll also vouch for the 1k/day. I did really well when I was doing that. I flounder when I hit revisions (even though I like revising) and don't have that 1k goal. I've tried other things, but nothing works quite as well for me as 1k.

Rose said...

Mary Curry,

You are right...taking the quiz during your writing time is procrastinating!

Have a good day.

Pam Hillman said...

But all my excuses are justified.

Aren't they?????

Granted, a lot of excuses (tasks) are needful, but I tend to spend more time that needed to get them done.

My good intentions derailed by other's agendas more often than my own excuses.

The unexpected calls for "honey-do-this" and "MAMA, HELP!" and even worse for June/July:

"Pam, I have a 5 gallon bucket of PEAS that I don't need, and I picked them JUST FOR YOU!"

I am appreciative of fresh vegetables, so God bless generous friends and family, but when I'm buried under a deadline, I don't need 50 gallons of figs, strawberries, plums, peas, corn, and tomatoes to put up.

Granted, it could be worse. Back when My Cowboy's grandparents still planted a garden, they planted so many peas, butter beans (lima beans) and corn that they had enough to fill their freezer, their daughters, ours, and my sister-in-laws. So, every couple of days, I'd get a call at 5:30 in the morning. "These peas need picking and we have all we need." Click.

Pam Hillman said...

I read that someone had had a day of writing distractions, and it's only 8:24 am...

Then I saw that it was Narelle from Australia. Time shift! :)

Pam Hillman said...

Helen, I hate that your manager is leaving, too. :( Hopefully, he's set the stage for the new one to keep up with the book signings.

Can I have the old manager down here in Mississippi?????

Wilani Wahl said...

I am thrilled that I made it through my to do list yesterday and all my projects got worked on. Hopefully today will be a good day as well.

Tina Radcliffe said...

I plead the FIFTH Amendment and invoke my Miranda rights.

But I did bring fresh bagels and schmear.

Rose said...

Way to go, Walani!

Rose said...

Tina is pleading the FIFTH about the quiz????

Hmmm.....very interesting......

Mindy Obenhaus said...

Procrastinate? Me?

I do plan on take your little quiz, Rose. Right after I check my email. :)

Mary Connealy said...

I'm a procrastinator, I suppose, in that I don't just dive in and do my writing first thing in the morning.....HOWEVER I do it SOMETIME and if that means I'm still typing at 10:30 at night, I have no one to blame but myself.

Mary Connealy said...

I didn't take the quiz either, Rose.

I hate getting bad grades and I'm afraid I wouldn't like the outcome if I took it....

and I can already (like Pammy Hillman) hear myself making excuses why it's not PROCRASTINATION because the stuff I do rather than write is IMPORTANT STUFF. Not like a slacker-procrastinator who isn't doing IMPORTANT STUFF.

Mary Connealy said...

Helen, you're sure he's got a bigger, better job?

He didn't get fired for letting you do booksignings, right?


Sandy Smith said...

I don't even want to say how I did. I am getting back into writing, but haven't prioritized enough to do it. I find some of the questions on the quiz very helpful.

I would love to be entered into the drawing for your book.

Mary Connealy said...

btw 'Artist Librarian' you have the classiest Blogger Name EVER!

Pam Hillman said...

Exactly, Mary.

All my excuses are important reasons! lol

Oooohhh, Helen, ya think?

Mary Connealy said...

Okay, took the quiz.

I got TEN

Except for jumping out of the WIP to check email which I do sometimes when I find a tricky spot in the book and want to hide from I gave myself a THREE...I got straight ones.

I rarely have a stack of research material. I do most research online.
But I remember when I write Deep Trouble about romance in the Grand Canyon, I had three books open on my desk throughout.
A book of trail maps. A book of pictures. A book called The Man Who Walked Through Time, a first person memoir of a back country hiker who walked the length of the Grand Canyon.
So His impressions. The pictures of what he's describing. The trail he walked so I knew right where he was geographically when he's see something and talk about it.

Over and over and over I flipped through the pages of those books.
Usually I just find stuff online and copy and paste it right into the top of the book document so I can refer to it easily. Especially the dates true events happened and the details of those events so I can keep my book squared off with the world.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi all,

I'm pretty good about writing & editing (however I am guilty about checking the email constantly). I've learned not to go on Facebook until after I've got my work done for the day.

Where I AM Really bad about procrastinating is exercising. I play every mind game in the world with myself and next thing I know it's bedtime. I need to find a way to get myself to exercise. One day, I'm sure I will! LOL.

Love your book cover, Rose! Sounds intriguing. I'd love to be in a draw.


Lyndee H said...

I started to respond last night, but put it off until this morning. ;)

Rose, you've put fire under my feet. Thanks for an eyeopening post!

Here's a way I trick myself. When I turn on the computer first thing in the morning, I immediately open my WIP and there it sits, hounding or shaming me to write something, if only one sentence.

Carol Moncado said...


Yesterday I was doing website stuff though. Like working on pics in Photoshop [which tends to hate my computer and it works so slowly].

And reading the comments from here that popped up in my email.

And reading Lindi Peterson's Her Best Catch again. And then I started Randy Ingermanson's Oxygen.

It's hard to get much done during the summer with the kids home and swim team and all of that, but I have finished edits on one MS and am working on another...

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Are we supposed to pay attention to small children?????


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Rose, you have nailed WHY I'M A DORK.

Because I'd rather write cool stories than browse facebook or twitter.....


I LOVE WRITING. There, I've confessed it again, I like it better than SO MANY OTHER THINGS that it's probably shameful or at least unnatural!!!! :)


But I do love creating stories, and I hope I carry that love for creativity into the space of time I'm getting next year... I've seen so many writers get more time and then manage to fill it with other stuff.

Which is good if that's your preference, right?????

But I can't wait to have that option!!!!!

Jan Drexler said...

Okay, I'm coming off of a 3 week hiatus (VBS is a time and energy drainer!), and looking at a trip to visit our parents in another few weeks, and then a few weeks after that is St. Louis.

Procrastination is my middle name.

But only for the summer :)

Writing goals will get done, but right now I'm concentrating on research. (No piles of books on my desk - I love research!)

But starting on Monday? I'm getting back to my 1K a day - at least until the trip east at the end of August.

DiAnn said...

I'm such a perfectionist and getting work done is not a problem. It's how do I take a breather? Loved your post!

Janet Dean said...

Welcome post side, Rose! This quiz looks good. I hate to say I'm procrastinating on taking it but I am. LOL I will be back as soon as I fix lunch for the grand kids. :-)


Mark Abel said...

Hi Rose, Thanks for your post it's jabbing me with conviction. I seem to go in waves, when I set goals, (like writing every morning for the next month), I do fairly well. Then, once I have worked through that time frame I slip back into a less disciplined mode and don't make a lot of headway. I'm also a pastster, as such I don't have an outline and often feel like I need a break before I am ready to write the next scene, often having no idea what it will even be until inspired.

I'm working on my first book and it's become quite complex and also getting overly long. Anyway I recently went back and did a reverse outline of what I have written so far, scene by scene. I did that because it was getting hard to go back when looking to find something. Then just the other day I sketched out a short outline of where I'm going and that seems to have helped a lot. I'm just now ready to write a scene, but procrastinated to write this first! Better get on in, thanks again and take care.

Missy Tippens said...

Okay, I'm convicted by your quiz, Rose! :)

I didn't score very well. And it definitely showed me areas to work on! Because I'm always one of those who works until late into the night at deadline time. I WILL get better at that!

Mark Abel said...

By the way my score on your test was an 18 but I have a day job as an architect and try to write for an hour or two each day before starting work. I notice in my profession I do my best work under pressure, often procrastinating until I have no choice but to work non-stop nearly killing myself in order to make the deadline. Hmm, procrastinating again, better start the scene before I'm out of time. Ouch...

DebH said...

i'm a procrastinator... or perhaps i have not given myself to go "all-in" on the writing "thing" (hubby's word).

this post is helpful for the self introspection/inspection of my writing and goals. once i put my mind to something, i usually stay on track pretty good. i drift and procrastinate when i either, am not sure of my direction or am feeling overwhelmed.

thanks for the post. Sweet on the Cowgirl sounds like a great read. please put my name in the draw.

DebH said...

um, that line was "given myself permission to go 'all-in' ". i wish editing comments was possible here...

Myra Johnson said...

Fun quiz, Rose! I came out at 13. My one big weakness is flipping back to check email or visit Seekerville when I come to a sticking point in my wip.

I did finally turn off the little email counter on my Mac menu bar so that it doesn't show new messages have come in. That's cut down on some of the distraction.

I do keep regular writing hours, though, so in spite of the occasional forays into email or social media, the work gets done. It has to! Deadlines don't cut you any slack!

Debby Giusti said...

I've spent the last two hours talking to a person in India who works for my Internet provider. But a modem will be in the mail shortly and relief is in sight! YAY!

Still...I lost two hours of writing time and ended up with a headache! LOL!

Love your quiz.

Will you be at ACFW? Hope so!


Janet Dean said...

Rose, ouch. The quiz showed me several areas where I need to improve! Your questions were spot on. Does this mean you're a recovering procrastinator? Or just know what you don't do?


Jeanne T said...

I read this early this morning, but this is my first chance to come back and comment. I love this post, Rose. This summer, my writing hasn't been halted by procrastination, but by lack of time with kids home for summer.

I confess though, during the school year, my score on your pop quiz would be a little higher than it is this summer. That being said, I'm working to establish stronger habits to increase my writing productivity.

This was a great post!

Myra Johnson said...

JEANNE, when my kids were young, I resigned myself to giving up writing for the summer. They were in so many activities and had so much going on with their friends that it was next to impossible to find a decent uninterrupted stretch of writing time. And I've never been one who could snatch ten minutes here, twenty there, and focus in enough to be productive.

Mary Connealy said...

Deb sorry about internet woes and the head ache.

Frowning for you.

Hope the wise ones in India have it all handled soon!

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...


"The only way to produce a manuscript is to write?!"


Sort of like "diet and exercise" in a different category of life?!

Thanks for this. The story is percolating and has been for some time. Soon... Soon, she said...

Thanks for this, Rose!
Have a wonderful day and happy almost August everypawdy!

Sandy Smith said...

I am happy to report that I finally sat down and wrote a short story that I am putting in the mail today. I feel like I primed the pump a little so maybe I can move forward now.

Rose said...

Mindy O,

HA! Your comment cracked me up!

Rose said...

Hi Mary!

Thanks for inviting me here today. I always have a GREAT time.

I can't believe you procrastinate at all with the amount of books you produce.

Rose said...

Sandy S,

Take baby steps and choose one procrastination area to work on.

Rose said...


I'm not to tempted to check my email while I'm writing unless my cell phone is near and I hear my new message tone. I can't write near my smart phone or I have to turn the volume down.

Rose said...


It's amazing how much hounding a WIP can do, isn't it? : )

Rose said...

BTW Carol M- Baking yummy cookies to take to the ACFW conference doesn't count as procrastinating...I'm just saying.....

Rose said...


I will not be attending the ACFW conference this year. I went to a conference in Chicago this spring instead.

Rose said...

Hi Jan,

I waved to you when I drove through Rapid City (and stopped at Cabelas)last week.

Rose said...


I'm glad you liked my post and stopped by today.

Rose said...


I've written books as a panster and a plotter. I've found I get more words written per writing session if I have an outline to follow.

Good luck with your project!

Rose said...

Deb H,

It sounds lie your know yourself well. Follow those instincts.

Rose said...

Jeanne T,

I'm glad you liked my post and it is hard to write with children needed your attention which isn't procrastinating at all.

Rose said...


You comment made smile.

Rose said...


Great job and good luck with your short story submission.

Rose said...

Hi Myra and Janet,

I'm glad you found my quiz interesting enough to take.

Thanks for letting me be a part of Seekerville!

Chill N said...

An insightful quiz, Rose. I can see how my two 3's are related ... it's so obvious now that you've drawn my attention to it :-)

I read the excerpt from Sweet on the Cowboy at Harlequin and am impressed with how you established the time setting by mentioning his new 1924 car. Fun reading ... and a really neat cover.

Nancy C

Chill N said...

P.S. My score was 12, which was a whole lot better than I expected. Even better, I was honest :-)

Nancy C

Rose said...


See sometimes quizzes aren't bad at all! And honesty is the best quality, right?

I'm glad you popped over to Harlequin and read the excerpt and that you liked my 'era establishing technique' and cover.

Good luck in the contest.

Natalie Monk said...

Wow. What a wake up call. I scored horribly.

I'm getting to that writing project today, though! Compiling all my plot notes and research to methodically go through bit by bit.

I had a plot-storming session with my sister today and got re-inspired! Can't wait to see how this WIP shapes up!

Cara Lynn James said...

Hi, Rose!

Sometimes I procrastinate and sometimes I don't. It seems to depend upon how much I'm enjoying writing my wip. I guess I should only write what I like to write and skip the projects I'm not too interested in.

Becke said...

Great paint on your cover! Interesting test. I scored 11 so I'm no saint, but I could be worse-she says as she answers blog instead of working on WIP!

I use an egg timer to keep me from piddling away time on the Internet. tick, tick, tick

Tina Radcliffe said...

Would scrubbing the toilet bowls, until they are minty fresh, be considered procrastination?

Walt Mussell said...

One of the best parts of my younger son's football season is that I spend the first half of his practice getting exercise by walking around the field and then spend the second half of the practice on my laptop, adding to my WIP.

Rose said...


Get those words down while you're feeling inspired and they will keep calling to you come back and revise and add words. Before you know it, you'll have a book!

Rose said...


Not only is it's obsessive! Unless, of course, company is coming.


Rose said...

Hi Cara,

I think we all have stories we work on that are harder because the idea in our head is exciting/interesting but lacks luster on paper, making it harder for us to bring our idea to life.

Rose said...


GREAT use of your time. I bet you aced the procrastination quiz!

Rose said...


GREAT use of your time. I bet you aced the procrastination quiz!

Terri said...

I finally found something I do perfect! Why did it have to be procrastination? LOL

This post is a real eye opener.


Terri said...

Tina - they say confession is good for the soul. You can share. :-)

And scrubbing those toilet bowls, well even I don't want to procrastinate that much!

Rose said...


Your comment is too funny!

Rose said...

Thank you Seekerville for hosting me today!

Mary Preston said...

I find the best way for me not to procrastinate is to make a list. I LOVE crossing things off lists.

Edwina said...

I am the Queen of Procrastination and have all the perfect excuses to prove it!

Glynis said...

Yikes. I'm a 22, but I think I cheated a little :) My WIP is my first, so I'm new at the whole thing. But I am very much a procrastinator, especially when it comes to social media and email. But I'm going to keep plugging away. I really want to type the words "The End" on something someday!

It was fun to see that you're in SD. I live in Rapid City, so I'll wave from across the state :)

Rose said...

Mary P,

I love cross items off a to-do list too. I think it's because I'm visual.

Rose said...


Way to own your procrastination!


Thanks for stopping by.

Rose said...


I was in Rapid City last week. Do you know Jan Drexler? She lives there too.

So glad you stopped by and I hope to meet you someday.

Waving back!

Chill N said...

Rose, I forgot to say don't enter me in the drawing. Sweet on the Cowgirl arrived today!

Nancy C

Rose said...

Chill N!

WHOO HOO!!!! I'm glad to know your digital copy arrived today and right on time.

Thank you for buying it and I really hope you like it.

Julie Lessman said...

ROSE!!! I am soooo sorry I missed your day, probably because I scored a 17 on your little test, so I definitely have a procrastination problem ... ;)

Great post, girlfriend, and I would have to say my biggest time-stealers lately are family since my kids/grandkids have been coming into town, but that's JUST how I like it because if there's anything that can trump writing, it's family. :)