Bad Habits When I Write…or When I Want To #MFRWAuthors

For the #MFRWAuthor 52-Week Blog hop, this week, week 35, we are talking my bad habits 🙁

My biggest two, and I’ll be the first to admit that they are horrible habits, are laziness and procrastination.  There are days when I am motivated.  I will write several thousand words or outline several scenes, all in one afternoon.  And because I consider that a good start, I will continue this throughout the week.  But my first downfall is something very simple that can be seen as laziness.

It’s not TV, or Facebook, or other distractions.  It is reading.  I love (really love) reading.  Anything that I find interesting, I will pick it up and become completely lost in the story.  I forget to feed myself, ignore my husband (which I make an effort not to), and will read through the time where I know I have a deadline, but I can’t stop.  I go through books and fanfiction like it’s water pouring down the drain.  Well, at least during the times I don’t have a reading slump.   I try and justify it as an occupational necessity, and it really is because of the inspiration I get from reading other author’s works and it jars ideas left and right, but it is an addiction.

And I say that reading is laziness because I don’t have to think of ideas and I don’t have to create.  Even though I fall in love with the stories I write, it doesn’t always start that way.  Sometimes my ideas of where my characters should end up get vetoed by the characters themselves.  For instance, in my latest book, Xander, the first iteration of his mate was a curvy librarian who was targeted by a bear shifter because he wanted her.  The problem became that I was lost the ability to invent strong conflict that I could develop throughout the story.  The bear shifter would have to be killed sometime int he first two chapters and his friends would catch wind of his death and come after them, but the story went nowhere.  I let it sit and sit before I came up with the idea that is Xander now.  And during that time, I kept reading.

My other bad habit is procrastination.  When I think of a story, I’m excited because the idea is new and I’m creating the story from scratch.  There is no research in the outline stage and no real distractions other than getting the story down.  But my problem is when the outline is finished and the story is fleshed out, I tend to drag my feet when filling out the character worksheet (although it’s the most helpful tool I can have when I write) before I type my outline in Scrivener and start writing my book.  I have no idea why.  When I start writing and I see how the story is fleshed out, I get really excited as the words appear and the story develops, but for some reason, I do procrastinate.  A lot.

And to combat both procrastination and laziness, I do what might seem counterproductive, but it gets me going again.  I pile on more work.  I recently decided that I’m going to create book covers on top of writing.  And not only that, I’ve started a short story that will hopefully be included in the Mischief Corner Books Christmas Collection, I’m outlining a Christmas novella that is included in my Unexpected series, and I’m in the beginning stages of a new Dark Assassins book.  All this because the month of August has not been very productive.  I’ve read several books that allowed me to complete my Goodread’s 2017 reading challenge, but now it’s time to get back to work!

I hope that everyone is combatting their bad habits and please, keep writing!

Thank you for stopping by!!





  1. Sherry Lewis - September 1, 2017 @ 6:36 am

    I wish I could get lost in other people’s stories! I used to, but most of the time now I find myself mentally editing as I read. Obnoxious much? Sigh. Guess I should have listed that as one of my bad habits, because it drives me nuts! Your post did make me want to go read a book, though 🙂

    • Valerie Ullmer - September 1, 2017 @ 8:26 am

      Yeah, I still do that, edit or sigh when there is a spelling error, but I try to concentrate on the characters more than the mistakes. Thanks for stopping by Sherry!

  2. Helen Henderson - September 1, 2017 @ 9:29 am

    I refuse to consider reading a bad habit, even though it can interfere with writing. 🙂

  3. Kenzie Michaels - September 1, 2017 @ 10:49 am

    I left out my NetFlix addiction….it’s been slightly cured this week, due to not being able to pay the bill until tomorrow, lol….but I still have a bad habit of watching too much TV!

    • Valerie Ullmer - September 1, 2017 @ 11:51 am

      Yeah, Netflix is bad when you binge watch a show or a documentary!

  4. Ed Hoornaert - September 1, 2017 @ 7:45 pm

    One of the kinds of procrastination you mention hits me, too — and it frequently means my creative subconscious isn’t quite ready to write. Either I’m on the wrong track or my ideas need to gestate a bit longer. Could that be the case with you, as well?

    • Valerie Ullmer - September 2, 2017 @ 7:40 am

      That sounds about right, but it drives me crazy when the thought or idea doesn’t really solidify until it’s good and ready. Thanks, Ed!

  5. Robin Michaela - September 2, 2017 @ 7:23 am

    I had to laugh at your point about reading instead of writing because I do it, too. My justification is that it often sparks an idea that gets me through writer’s block.

    • Valerie Ullmer - September 2, 2017 @ 7:41 am

      Yeah, it does help most of the time. Especially when you’ve finished several books and you’re ready to get back into the flow of writing. Thanks for stopping by, Robin!

  6. Linda McLaughlin - September 2, 2017 @ 2:25 pm

    As a former librarian, I have a hard time with the notion that reading is a bad habit. I think it’s a very good habit, though I suppose one can overdo in the “too much of a good thing” category.

  7. Alina K. Field - September 2, 2017 @ 8:50 pm

    Reading is definitely important for this career path!

  8. Meka James - September 4, 2017 @ 9:48 am

    Crazy that for me reading it the one thing I’ll put off in favor of other things. I was just thinking today that I wish beta reading could count towards my Goodreads challenge because then I would have completed my measly 12 book commitment for the year already. Yes only 12, but no I’ve not completed it. My procrastination knows no bounds. LOL Maybe I can start counting the books I read to my boys at bedtime. We are working our way through the Goosebumps series.

    • Valerie Ullmer - September 5, 2017 @ 8:05 am

      For me, I read Fanfiction and I’ve read so many of them that are novel length that they could be counted, but since they aren’t published, they don’t count. But I figure that enjoyment from reading is all I need. Goosebumps sounds great, and close to Halloween too!

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