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Ask E. Jean for DearSugar: Why am I Procrastinating?


I’m a writer. Every waking moment I am consumed with dreaming about my novel coming out. I am obsessed with what I’ll say to Matt during my appearance on THE TODAY SHOW and what I’ll wear when you interview me for ELLE.

I know. You want to stop reading. But, trust me: I am a GREAT F***ING WRITER!! Beside the novel, I’m also working on a screenplay. But it’s the novel that will launch me into fame-anista land. It is my destiny. So why do I procrastinate? Why can’t I finish it?

My astrologer said I’m loafing because I’m afraid of success. Is that true? How can it be true when I’m so obsessed with thinking about my book tour?

My boyfriend is nervous because he also believes I’ll be famous. We’ve discussed his fear about me leaving him when I get the movie deal. (The script and novel are THAT good.) We’ve been together since college and I don’t want to hurt him.

Meanwhile I am working in retail. Am I not finishing my novel because I’m afraid of hurting him? Or am I afraid of success?-----The Next Big Thing

To see E. Jean's answer


Stop gibbering about how freaking brilliant you are and send your manuscript to me. Here is my e-mail: I can tell in 3 minutes if you have talent. If you have talent, I’ll help you get an agent. (You strike me as just crazy enough, to actually be a writer.)

P.S. Get rid of the dillweed astrologer. They pray on weak, helpless women.

P.P.S. Everybody thinks they’re going to be famous in the next five minutes. Shut up, hunny, and DO SOMETHING.

To see more advice from E. Jean visit Elle Magazine and

Join The Conversation
missmaddie missmaddie 9 years
For goodness' sake! Ditch the astrologer in favor of a good therapist.
ohemgeemeganlee ohemgeemeganlee 10 years
Hahaha, wow. Full of yourself much?
nlw nlw 10 years
I think we should get an update, E Jean. Was the manuscript any good? Or didn't she send it to you?
GeikoSera GeikoSera 10 years
Awesome! :D
7kimba7 7kimba7 10 years
hahaha E. Jean!
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
whay does it matter what the reason is? if you are into keeping things as they are you must be getting something out of them. so what is it?
pebby01 pebby01 10 years
i feel like this post can apply to any type of procrastination. why? because as i sit here reading and replying, i'm procrastinating! i'm going to take the "just do it" advice and go finish my homework!!! :)
reese05 reese05 10 years
I agree with kerryG. Go E.Jean!
books-and-shoes books-and-shoes 10 years
:rotfl: I'm totally cracking up here! Yay E. Jean!!
i-am-elle i-am-elle 10 years
tati33 tati33 10 years
:ROTFL: E Jean!!
junebrug junebrug 10 years
Oh boy. I am a writer (mostly screenplays) also trying to make it happen. STOP WASTING your time worrying about what will happen when you become famous. I'm hoping all the best for you (and me), but no matter how good a writer you are, the odds are still slim. You're not writing because you're a lazy git, now shut up and get to work (I think I'm to post that on my wall so I can look it myself over and over).
almostloli almostloli 10 years
E. Jean's answer rocks! procrastination....... has been my problem as well.. but hey JUST DO IT (the poster had time to browse dearsugar hahaha)
Perl Perl 10 years
Totally annoying...yet somehow endearing too.
cgmaetc cgmaetc 10 years
How 'bout you get rid of anyone in your life who tells you "if you become successful, you'll leave me" because that are TOXIC! this includes your loser boyfriend.
amybdk amybdk 10 years
Mmmm... no comment ;)
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
Anyone else find the poster a wee bit annoying?
AmazonChick AmazonChick 10 years
ok, as someone in publishing - it's not easy. Period. First of all how can you be sure that it's good until it's done? There are many ideas that start out great but fall flat at the end...are we talking writer's block or you actually don't want to finish because after hyping yourself up so much you're worried it won't be good enough? It's not easy to get published, and sometimes it's not what you originally thought or hoped it would be. I mean hell, someone walked into a publishing house with a huge roll of paper (like a massive toilet paper roll) and 2 months later, the editor said 'well I think we're going to publish chapter 7' - which became On the Road by Jack Kerouac. You cannot, let me repeat that, CANNOT let one or even twenty rejections get you down, but holy hell to start anything happening you have to FINISH THE FREAKING BOOK!!! There comes a point where you have to motivate yourself - you've gone way past that point!!
KerryG KerryG 10 years
Personally, I suspect you're more afraid of failure than success, even if you can't admit it to yourself. You've already built this novel up so much in your head, it's no wonder you're afraid to send it out in the world and see what people (who aren't your friends, relatives, or lovers) truly think of it. Don't let a few rejection slips get you down. The world is full of stories about novels rejected literally dozens of times that went on to become best sellers. But don't count your chickens before they're hatched either.
herjoiedevivre herjoiedevivre 10 years
haha. I love your answer e.jean! and ladylibertine, she probably doesn't mean "I'll check and see if I like it"- discerning rough talent isn't that hard. is there a good plot, is it consistent, does she even have good grammar/spelling,etc.
LadyLibertine LadyLibertine 10 years
I dont really see how on persons opinon can determine if she is good or not. Look how many rejected the book lord of the rings before it got published.
meshuga meshuga 10 years
As a writer myself, I can tell you that it involves applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. If you stood on the corner of 57th Street and Madison in Manhattan and asked everyone who walked by "How's your screenplay (novel) coming?" at least half would say, "I'm working on it." Okay, it takes a really long time to write a good novel. It does take thinking--but not thinking about your book tour, but thinking about your book! Ask yourself: have you ever finished anything? Short stories? If not, you may just be daydreaming. Give yourself a test. Write every day for a week. Just sit there for a couple of hours and write what you can. I wish you well.
GiggleSugar GiggleSugar 10 years
Haha! Hey, E. Jean, I have a novel I wanna send you, too! ;)
KWM KWM 10 years
You tell her E.Jean!
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 10 years
LOL love you, E. Jean!!
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