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.