Today we’re going to be talking about the nasty word procrastination and how we can overcome it as writers. Nobody likes to admit they have a problem with procrastination, but honestly, we all do it at various times. Here are a few ways I have discovered to combat the menace of procrastination.
Discover the reason behind it:
Once you discover the truth, then you will be able to work through it. Why do you keep putting it off? Do you feel your writing isn’t good enough? This excuse tends to be the underlying cause of stress for many writers. Keep this in mind. Most Americans read at a 7th or 8th-grade level. It doesn’t mean they can’t read a more complicated text, but they choose to read at a lower level for entertainment purposes. So as long as you can write as well as your teenager can comprehend, you are fine. Nowadays, some of the best-selling, highest-grossing books are not written in a literary or Shakespearean fashion. They are written in a conversational tone that people can relate to, enjoy and read quickly.
Rediscover Your Purpose:
Why did you decide to write this book in the first place? What would this do for you if this book took off and became a best-seller? How would you touch the world with your writing? Reignite that spark within you, that fire, that passion that made you want to become a writer in the first place, and you’ll find procrastination disappears.
Another way to combat procrastination is to set goals and deadlines for yourself. Now, these goals and deadlines need to be kept, so if you can’t do it alone, then find yourself an accountability partner. Make sure it is someone who will hold you to your goals. Some people choose to use a writer’s group, and others hire a mentor or coach. Of course, Synova’s Simply Biz Author Coaching Service is here to help you with such things if you need help.
Procrastination is Fear:
You must realize procrastination is based on fear. Nobody procrastinates on something that they’re confident doing, something they love doing, or something that comes easy for them. No, people procrastinate on things they’re afraid of or things they’re nervous about. Realize that you are more than capable of writing down your thoughts. You can choose to use a notebook as I sometimes do, or you can dictate your writing if you don’t feel comfortable with a pen and paper. That’s what I’m doing with this article right now. I found in my busy, hectic schedule, running my business, homeschooling my kids, trying to maintain a happy marriage and a comfortable home, that I don’t have a lot of time to sit down with a notebook and a pen. Although that’s my favorite way of writing, I have found dictation has been a lifesaver.
Realize Life IS A Distraction!
Don’t wait for a time completely free from distractions. I will warn you that time will never come. The only time you are entirely without distraction is when you’re in the grave. I know it sounds cold and harsh, but life itself is a distraction. So it’s up to you what you choose to focus on. Tony Robbins says, “where focus goes, energy flows.” I love that because it reminds me that what I focus on is what I’m going to do, accomplish, or become. So don’t wait for a time without distractions. You choose what you focus on.
That being said, there is a way to minimize the distractions. For one, if you find yourself getting distracted by your cell phone, then leave it in the other room shut off. If you find you’re bothered by the internet on your PC, then grab the old-fashioned notebook and write by hand. In my case, I have two kids running around the house constantly while I’m trying to work my business. If I wait for a time without distractions, I might as well wait twenty years until they’re grown up and out of the house. I’m sure there will be something else to distract me, though.
Build Writing Rituals:
Another way to combat procrastination is to build a writing ritual. I use the word ritual because it involves a different image in our minds than the word routine. Routine is something we do every day. Ritual is something more spiritual, more powerful. It has more life to it.
Now, if you think about Arnold Schwarzenegger, he exercises like a maniac. He’s been doing this since his bodybuilding days. He used to work out for 5 hours a day in a gym. Now nobody I know personally works out like that, but I know now that Arnold is well into his seventies, he still works out twice today for at least an hour. Does he think about it? No. Does he have to push himself to continue? No. He has built a ritual. If you build a strong enough writing ritual, the procrastination will literally disappear.
Don’t Wait For Inspiration.
“Don’t wait for inspiration. Go after it with a club.” – Jack London.
Many new writers come into my coaching program and tell me that they haven’t written this week because they just haven’t had the inspiration. Successful writers don’t wait for inspiration. They go out and create their own inspiration. If you start writing, the inspiration will come. Think of it as the faucet in your kitchen. If you want the water to wash your dirty dishes, you have to turn it on. It’s the same with inspiration. Get started, and it will come.
When You Don’t Know What To Write:
Finally, I suggest you use my “Topics Method” to avoid procrastination. I have several videos and articles about this method and will link them below. The topics method is where you break down your book into 25 topics or sections. Now, these topics do not have to be chapters. They do not have to be any specific thing. Write down what you want to write about in 25 pieces. Put those topics on pieces of notebook paper, and place them in a hat. Shake them up and draw one a day. This method keeps you from having to figure out what you’re going to write without wasting time.
Whatever your reason for procrastinating, keep in mind that everyone experiences procrastination from time to time. You’re not alone. The important thing is to keep pushing through and don’t give up. You have not lost. You have not failed until you quit. Keep writing, guys!
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