Beat Procrastination: Tips to Galvanize your Writing
Everyone is busy. Everyone always has something they can find to do even if it is just surfing Instagram, taking out the trash or reading random Wikipedia articles. Unfortunately this means everyone is capable of procrastination when it comes to actually sitting down to write. For example, here’s a list of people who disappeared mysteriously. I stumbled across it and convinced myself I could use it as inspiration for a story so I read about every single person on the list in order to find out. (I’m sorry if this diverted most of you, but it proves my point.)
7 Tips for Writers
Sound familiar? Nearly everyone has been guilty of procrastination for one reason or another. When it comes down to an interesting distraction or working on something, it can be easy to let the diversion win. I can’t cure your dawdling ways, but here are a few tips that might help you increase your productivity.
- Break it Down
Many of us have sat down in a last minute rush just before whatever deadline we might face. It’s a lot healthier to break down what you are writing into small chunks instead of trying to do it all at once. If you’re writing for the upcoming short story contest, first brainstorm what you’re going to write about and get the concept on the page. The next time you sit down to write come up with your characters and then worry about actually writing the story. Start with the opening and then move on scene by scene.
- Schedule Time to Write
There isn’t a perfect time to write. I’ve found this out the hard way. Our lives are busy and there is always something to see or do or get done. If you try to wait until things slow down a little, that time may never come. You have to make the time by planning writing into your daily schedule. Put it on your To Do list. When do you feel the most awake and creative? Are you one of the elusive morning people? How about a night owl? Try to make your favorite hour of the day the time that you write but focus on at least making it a time when you CAN actually write.
- Wait to Edit
Your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. No really, it doesn’t. Write in a continuous motion—forward. Wait until you have a finished rough draft to go back and revise. As a perfectionist and occasional writing procrastinator, I understand the urge to over edit. Don’t edit until you have something finished, no matter how rough the rough draft.
- Go Wi-Fi Free
The internet is amazing and wonderful and can be very helpful. This is often not the case when you are writing a story. Do not get on the internet. Some have taken this to the extreme of renting a cabin in the woods but you could also just turn off your Wi-Fi for the time it takes to write a scene.
- Don’t Do the Wrong Things First
If you are anything like me, sometimes you choose to complete the fun or interesting tasks first and then you work on the more complicated tasks. That way you’re still checking things off of your To Do list but you’re still avoiding the one task you shouldn’t. I mean yes, eating, sleeping, exercising, and going to work or school are important. Do those things. Just don’t decide to spring clean your house in the middle of September because you’re putting off finishing your short story.
- Reward Yourself
This is self explanatory. After you complete your writing time, make certain to schedule yourself ice cream time, yoga time, reread Good Omens time, or whatever it is that makes you happy.
- Use your Local Library
Don’t forget about the library. We have a lot of resources available at your fingertips including books, eBooks, databases, free Wi-Fi, laptops you can check out to use and a lot more. If you want some more ideas about how to utilize the library, check out my older post called Your Library—the Write Place.
Books that May Inspire…
- Get it Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day by Sam Bennett
- Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter
- The Writer’s Devotional: 365 Inspirational Exercises, Ideas, Tips, and Motivations on Writing by Amy Peters
- Solving the procrastination puzzle: a concise guide to strategies for change by Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D.
- Eat that frog! : 21 Great ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
Short Story Contest
Now that you’ve finished writing, enter our Short Story Contest! Click for a list of rules and directions for submitting your work. We can’t wait to read what you’ve written.