As perfected for 3+ years, by yours truly. Yes, it’s long. But if you’re truly dedicated to your procrastination, as I am, you’ll make it all the way to the bottom.
1. Graduate from High School, thinking that the world is your oyster.
2. Get a job working at a pool, where you will spend your entire summer smelling sunscreen and hanging out with really tan underage lifeguards.
3. Have a strange half-dream one night about people sleeping in an alley next to dumpsters and decide “WAIT. THIS IS SO INSPIRING. I’M GOING TO WRITE A BOOK.” And jot the scene down still half asleep, thinking it’s going to win you a Pulitzer. (Then think about Lilly Pulitzer, and then go buy an agenda to help you organize your life.)
4. Inform every single person you know that you will be writing a book.
5. Write some scenes from the book, and then realize it can never be published, ever, because everything you’ve written so far is basically a memoir of your life with names swapped out, and those people will definitely know it’s about them, and that you wrote it, no matter what name you publish it under. (Because clearly, it’s going to become so big that EVERYONE will be reading it, and then they’ll know which character is them, and that would be really awkward despite the fame and riches and therefore not worth it.)
6. Make a website for yourself using what you think is a clever pseudonym, based on Dorothy Parker but with a cooler first name. (For extra points spend lots of money on a domain name and cool publishing host.)
7. Go back to school in the fall and not write a single word, but tell people how much you’re suffering by not having the time to write, despite watching The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl obsessively.
8. Once it’s summer again, go back to the pool and wait for inspiration to strike.
9. Decide that most writers are drunken messes (not sure where this stereotype came from…) and then drink heavily and sympathize with Jay Gatsby. (Bonus: text all of your friends about this at 2 a.m.)
10. Realize your fancy website has expired and you just wasted your money because nothing ever happened with it.
11. Decide that it’s okay because one day, you’ll be a millionaire. (Or a billionaire, like Bruno Mars.) Then make a playlist for inspiration.
12. Watch The Secret obsessively, and wonder how credible the guy with the dreadlocks who calls himself a doctor is.
13. Develop a Michael Fassbender obsession and Netflix every single movie he’s ever been involved with, then force all of your friends to watch them with you, no matter how strange the movie.
14. Decide that it’s your destiny to try every single kind of Red Velvet dessert within a 50 mile radius.
15. Realize that your Michael Fassbender obsession was a little bit creepy and slightly inappropriate, and that X-Men, First Class really wasn’t worth seeing five times in theatres.
16. Make a Shark Week countdown and then request the entire week off from work.
17. Read $0.99 Kindle books obsessively, and then complain to your friends about the quality of said books, then wonder why no one ever wants to read your book suggestions.
18. Research the House of Hohenzollern and become obsessed with the Black Forest in Germany. (Wikipedia = quality research.)
19. Get really upset that Ancient Aliens is no longer on the History Channel, but History 2, and you don’t get History 2 except on On Demand, so your Giorgio Tsoukalos obsession will have to be content with Ancient Aliens and the Third Reich because that’s the only episode on On Demand.
20. Become obsessed with The Veldt – both the song and the short story, and then become re-obsessed with The Lottery, The Most Dangerous Game, Utopia, etc.
21. Tell everyone about your obsession with The Veldt, and then try and convince them to read a story about children killing their parents by trapping them in a virtual room with real lions. Hey, people want to read about teenagers killing each other, why not parents and lions?
22. Creep around your house – and your parents’ house for books to send in to Amazon to get gift card credit, even if it’s only 49 cents. Hey, that’s almost half a book.
23. Obsessively organize your blog, then purchase yet another domain name for this one and then promise that you’ll actually get somewhere, because now you look more professional. Also inquire on Etsy about personalized business cards with your snazzy new “logo” thing that you made the other night for four hours:
24. Listen to The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald for two weeks straight, causing everyone you know to wonder if you’re actually a 65 year-old trapped in a 20 year-old’s body.
25. Creep obsessively all over Garth Nix’s twitter and blog, hoping some of the genius that inspired you to write in the first place will rub off on you. Also decide to get a Waterman’s fountain pen because that’s what Garth uses. (And what he used to write the postcard you begged his agent to send you.)
26. Go out and buy a notebook to write in, because when you’re famous you can take pictures of it like Garth did and people will ooh and ahh over it.
27. Watch every episode of Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures ever filmed. Then cry over Grant’s departure from Ghost Hunters and wonder why that guy from Ghost Adventures has Pokemon trainer hair.
28. Go to the mall and then have your friend who works at Nordstrom find you clothes that you don’t actually need – because you’re always at the pool working, you don’t need clothes for the outside world – and spend $82 there.
29. Develop a Chris Hemsworth obsession.
30. Think heavily about signing all of your friends up for email subscriptions of your blog by logging out and then typing in each one individually. Hey, you’re doing them a favor. This way, the emails will be sent automatically, without you nonchalantly including links at the bottom of each email you send, hoping one day they’ll click it. (Or that they won’t, because then they’ll just think that you’re actually crazy and maybe schizophrenic and de-friend you.)
31. Re-read your favorite books and then tell everyone how passionate you are about each of the characters and how touching their life stories are (Bonus points make this your phone background, for inspirational purposes: *MOCKINGJAY SPOILERS BELOW! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED*:
32. Develop a tumblr addiction.
33. Develop a twitter addiction.
34. Tell everyone how tortured you are that your book is taking so long to finish.
35. Think heavily about running away to Australia (for inspirational purposes, of course) and then decide not to because your parents would probably call the U.S. Embassy in Australia and have you carted back, never to visit the land down under ever again because you violated some sort of immigration law, just like in Like Crazy. And then you’ll never meet your hot Australian soul mate, so scratch that whole plan.)
36. Search in vain for Ancient Aliens on TV, only to spend 9 hours watching the entirety of the Hatfields & McCoys made-for-TV miniseries.
37. Become re-obsessed with Emily Maynard, wonder why she looks like a barbie, and then tell everyone you know how much you love Arie but hate Kalon despite the fact that he entered on a helicopter and always looks like he’s wearing lip gloss. Update: Jef is what’s up. Sure, he hates extra consonants and has interesting hair, but that can totally be overlooked.
38. Make sure your room is as messy as possible – because that’s the optimal work environment, and you need to write, so you don’t have time for cleaning.
39. Try and clean your room, because you just can’t work in these conditions. Your novel will be done in two days if your room is clean.
40. Give up and go to Starbucks, then realize you’re too overly-caffeinated to do anything but stare at a poster on the wall and wonder why the music is so bad/loud. Rinse, lather, and repeat steps 38-40 as necessary.
Oh and then, as a final step, (or intermittent, really) write this blog post. Happy Novel* writing!
*By “Write a Novel”, I mean sort of write a novel. Not actually having something tangible to show people. Just you know, awkward bits and pieces that only make sense in your head with only a Hemsworth/Tsoukalos obsession to show for it. But it’s okay, because according to The Secret, imminent success is just around the corner.