The Benefits of Procrastination & Distraction

 Elizabeth Kadetsky

Elizabeth Kadetsky

Every month, Glimmer Train releases a bulletin that includes a few brief essays by writers on the writing life. For October, I was happy to find the themes of procrastination and distraction—and how they can be a positive influence in our work lives.

  • Elizabeth Katdetsky discusses how she gives in to the procrastinator in herself, and how her recent project is a testament to “artful obsession, to letting go expectations, the quest for reward or compensation.”
  • Claire Luchette finds that the best thing she can do to help her writing is to … not write.
  • And Ron Savage tells a story that is as much about writing as it is about patient waiting.

The drive to be ever-more productive can be quite an affliction, making us a little too serious and impeding our best work. These pieces might help take the pressure off and perhaps create self-awareness around your writing (or non-writing) habits. Go read them all.

Posted in Creativity + Inspiration.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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[…] The Benefits of Procrastination & Distraction for writers, by Jane Friedman, who teaches digital publishing & media at the University of Virginia. […]

Lexa Cain

Great post! I definitely find that sometimes when procrastinating, I’m still thinking of my work and can come up with new inspirations and ideas. I’m slower than most writers I know, but content editors find little needs fixing.

Deborah Rogers
Deborah Rogers

Hi from New Zealand Jane,
Just wanted to thank you for all the really terrific and useful posts. There’s always some insight that is of real and practical use. Keep up the good work because it’s appreciated downunder!

Robin Israel

Is October procrastination month? I’ve definitely been thinking a lot about it and how it is actually valuable. I’ve decided that the kind of procrastination that helps the writer is “True Procrastination”.


[…] is the thing most people need help with. Luckily, it’s not that hard to cure procrastination because it’s a strategy setup to help you get a benefit, usually an emotional one. And if you […]


I wrote a book last year and been trying to find an agent ever since. I had an editor approach me and worked on my book. Using his referrals, i had five agents read my book who all had good things to say about my book but did not want to sign me. How do I find agents who would be willing to take a risk on me?


[…] Train extols the benefits of procrastination and distraction, while Lauren Schmelz examines instant gratification and asks: what’s the […]


I loved Ron Savage’s story about patience. Waiting is a hard part of a writer’s life…so it is always wonderful to hear those inspirational stories.

Edit Write Services
Edit Write Services

I seriously did not think that procrastination and distraction have benefits. Very interesting post indeed.