Procrastinate to Fuel Your Writing, Tip #1: Chocolate Wars

chocolate_fractal_300Some insist procrastination is a dirty word. But I say, “One writer’s procrastination is another writer’s research.”

Have you ever left your keyboard in search of a snack, and found yourself staring at the inside of the fridge (for the umpteenth time that day) and not finding anything worth eating? Of course you have. You’re human.

The next time you’re disappointed by the dull innards of your refrigerator, don’t go back to your work-in-progress. You know you want a break from deciding what color eyes each of your characters should have or from making a definitive guide on how to kill a boar with a straw. Your new research might begin something like this:

Skipping to the fridge, hungry for a quick snack. Squee, chocolate sauce! Drat, no ice cream. Score – everything needed to make chocolate chip cookies! But ingredients for brownies, too. Which to make…

Turn this predicament into an exercise in character development, scene generation, or world building. What would your main character rather snack on? Does a beefy cop enjoy brownies? A warrior princess prefer cookies?

Go ahead, bake a pan of brownies. While waiting, mix cookie dough. Take a sample. When brownies are done, taste test a corner and a center piece (one for you and one for your character). Bake cookies. Sample again. Consider a drizzle of chocolate sauce and/or running to the store for ice cream. Would cop like vanilla or chocolate? This is a win-win for everyone.

If chocolate isn’t to your liking…er…your character’s liking, try these alternatives:
– apple pie vs. cherry pie
– any pie vs. any cake
– cookie vs. cookie
– same for candy, milkshakes, etc.

So many characters, so many choices. Savory alternatives could include comparing bread, wine, beer, cheese (and now I’m officially hungry).

Allow this to be a pleasant, but useful, distraction. Food preferences can reveal a protagonist’s character and upbringing, become a recurring prop throughout the story (e.g. Agent Gibbs’ coffee on NCIS), or be included in a scene such as:
– a food fight
– a requisite tavern visit
– a prelude to a romantic encounter
– a family/holiday dinner
– a meet-and-greet with new alien neighbors

So take a break and make procrastination research work for you and your story. And then get back to writing.

Do you prefer cookies or brownies? How often do you visit the fridge hoping the food elf has left something yummy since the last time you checked?

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Speculative Fiction Writer

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Posted in Procrastination, Writing Advice
4 comments on “Procrastinate to Fuel Your Writing, Tip #1: Chocolate Wars
  1. Great idea! Thanks. But you’re making me hungry.

  2. This is too funny and too true! Just give me fudge, and I’ll go away and leave everyone alone!

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All who wander are not lost. ~ JRR Tolkien

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