The Fine Art of Procrastination

Let’s face it, we can all procratinate with the best of them. I know I can. I sit down with the best of intentions. My plan is to open my document and get straight to writing, but that’s when it happens. The call of the wild email account (all three of them)  beckons. Then I get sucked in by the seductive lure of twitter and/or facebook because I really have to make sure that all is well in Frontierville.  Then overwhelming desire to research 14th century names or natural disasters kicks in(don’t ask). The next thing you know an hour or more has gone by and I still haven’t written word one. If it’s a weekend and I’m really in full procrastination mode the XBox 360 controller magically finds it way into my hands. Next thing I know it’s six or later in the evening and the guilt finally has gotten bad enough that I’m actually going to make the effort to get something written. The sad fact is that a short while later I will have fallen asleep on my keyboard and only have written a fraction of what I intended to write. Yes, folks, I have mastered the fine art of procrastination.

To conquer this, I find that making myself accountable to someone else can really help. I’ve recently joined a group for just that purpose. We keep each others on track by reporting in about our weekly progress, whether it be page/word count or simply checking things off of your to do list. There is also a certain aspect of pride, at least for me. I don’t want to be the only person with nothing to report. I want to be the person announcing that I got to The End.

Another suggestion is making yourself a progress chart. Melinda blogged about it a few weeks back. Figure out how long you want to take to write your book, how long you want it to be and then chart it out. Figure out what your minimum word count has to be per day to reach your end goal. For some the excitement of seeing that word count get smaller and smaller is motivating and exciting.

Another tip to fight procrastination, disconnect. No cellphone, no internet. Another writer friend of mine has a laptop that doesn’t have wifi. She uses that computer for her writing since she can’t connect to the net and waste time.

BTW, waiting for inspiration to strike is just another form of procrastinating. If you’re doing other things because the words aren’t coming then try shaking things up. Try getting out of your office and writing in a new location, something different then the norm. Or try another means of writing. Switch to your alpha smart, or try long hand. I know transcribing sucks, but  sometimes that connection of pen to paper helps get the creative neurons sparking. Plus, they now have devices that will record and transfer your hand written pages to your computer.
These are just a few suggestions to battle procrastination. So please share some procrastination trials and what you do to battle them.


4 responses to “The Fine Art of Procrastination

  1. The only way I get things done is to set goals. Either word count or hours (if revising/brainstorming, etc…). And I pretty much have to close my email and Twitter. I also put goals on a calendar for things like the first revision, sending the finished draft to my CPs, submitting queries, and so on.

    Good luck, Rayna!

  2. Oh, I hate it when I get stuck in the Nation of Procrasti. Though I find myself taking vacations there quite often. The one way I fight this is to make daily goals and force myself to write at least a couple of hours a day. Like you said, don’t wait around for inspiration. It usually won’t come or it shows up while you are driving and unable to record your thoughts.

    I use some of the tips suggested above as well to get me started. If I have to wait for someone at the store or at a doctor’s office, I may use my digital voice recorder and dictate notes that my characters tend to give me. I have taken note pads and/or my AlphaSmart to take notes on when I go to the doctor’s office.

    To break my writer’s block, I start playing “what if” games with my material or even using people I may encounter in my travels. It helps get my mind creating material that I may need to complete a project.

    Dennis H. Clarkston
    AKA Clark Stone

  3. Gwen and Dennis,

    Sounds like you wo have pretty solid plans to keep you on track and moving forward. That’s awesome and if you take a brief trip to the Nation of Procrasti it’s probably well deserved.

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