The Benefit of Delay by Catharine Bramkamp

The Benefit of Delay by Catharine BramkampLet’s welcome back monthly columnist Catharine Bramkamp as she shares with us “The Benefit of Delay.” Enjoy!


I wrote this blog specifically to delay working on the third draft of my novel, Sunk Cost.

Which prompts the question, why the delay?

Shouldn’t I be working night and day on my book to meet a deadline as fictional as the plot?

Shouldn’t I be working 8 hour days to finish the novel in the erroneous belief that it is actually possible to finish a novel?  We are all vulnerable to stories (possibly fictitious) of writers who never fail to wake at 4:30 AM and write all day until they leave the desk at 7:00 PM.

They churn out dozens of books a year, they are driven best selling authors, and if we too applied ourselves, and worked at the same (killing)  pace, we could be best selling authors as well.

Except when killing yourself doesn’t work, or serve your art.

I’ve created novels with all the time in the world to work (engendering a weed-free lawn), and I have wedged creative time between job duties and keeping an ear out for the small children who roamed wild throughout the house, snacking from the dog dish while leaning precariously out second story windows just to see what the roof looks like up close.

Both can work, but what if you are just overwhelmed? 

Worse, what if the novel isn’t compelling enough to get past the roof gazing, lawn perfecting stage?

There is a middle way.

The timed delay.

How to Write Without Killing Yourself (Or Your Creativity)

First, designate a start date for the novel.

Commit to your art by promising you will collect and compile all the necessary material to create the draft or edit for your novel. 

Now, once you have the date and the stuff, forget the book.

When asked, explain that on Monday, the first of the month, you are starting your book.

In the meantime, do something – anything – else.

While researching for the novel, write blogs, dance, create collages from expired permission slips.

On the first of the month  –  release the flying monkeys.

What will help you is that pent up energy ready to go.

You may even feel anxious that you aren’t beginning the book yet, you have so many ideas, maybe just write one sentence, write one scene.

And what happens? 

You’ve launched into working on the book early, just because it feels like righteous cheating, you are cheating your own deadline, and that is okay.

Or you wait and wait, ready to pounce Monday morning – and you can’t type fast enough to capture all the words and ideas backed up behind the delay dam.

All that pent up momentum will propel the story faster and better than if you dabbed at it over the last month and a half.

Delay releases you from overthinking about your project.  

As writers we over think, it’s our job.

What delay with a date can do for your book is to free you from too much thinking and worrying.

Barring an emergency room visit because your oldest just tumbled from a second story window, think but don’t overthink.

If you spend too much time ruminating about the novel, you’ll feel like you actually wrote it down and ironically, you’ll feel just as tired.

Delay forces us to slow down.  We can’t be overly busy during a delay.

Our minds and ideas can gain space and invite the Muse to help.

When the date arrives, you’ll be ready.

A delay then, can garner faster work in fewer days.

We often forget that our novels take time. Allow for some delay in the interest of thinking, considering, and if it all goes well – better writing.

Author note:  Look for Sunk Cost the new Sexy at Sixty book – for pre-sale on Amazon!

Sunk Cost


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Catharine BramkampCatharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach, Chief Storytelling Officer, former co-producer of Newbie Writers Podcast, and author of a dozen books including the Real Estate Diva Mysteries series, and The Future Girls series. She holds two degrees in English and is an adjunct university professor. After fracturing her wrist, she has figured out there is very little she is able to do with one hand tied behind her back. She delights in inspiring her readers.

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