Procrastination is the enemy of writers, and really anyone who needs to get work done. Still, it happens to the best of us. Here are three ways I find it helpful to counter procrastination when writing:
The best way I’ve found to counter procrastination is to be proactive and to have a plan in place to accomplish the work you want to get done. I also plan for rest breaks, and days off, because I know that in order to do my best work, I need to rest.
If you don’t know what works for you yet, then experiment! You could try the pomodoro method, or plan some brainstorming into your work day, or you could get really crazy and travel to get some good writing done!
Once you’ve found what works for you, then plan it. Put it into your schedule, so that you know what’s ahead. I also like to leave my Friday blank, so that if work doesn’t get done on a Wednesday, I can push it to Friday without feeling guilty or overwhelmed.
And then reward yourself, perhaps with a piece of chocolate, a colourful check mark beside the task in your scheduler, or a walk around the block!
#2. Be Realistic:
Planning is all well and good, but in planning, you need to be realistic about what you can actually accomplish in a day. Setting unrealistic word counts, forcing yourself to write for hours at a time without break, are all recipes that will encourage procrastination, because our minds are simply not built to function like that.
As a writer, you need to know what you can realistically accomplish physically as well. Writers need to be careful of our wrists, and arms, and our neck and backs from sitting hunched at a laptop for hours at a time.
Know your limits, and plan within them.
Sometimes you’re going to fall off the rails; your attention will be diverted, your mind will wander, or you will actively choose to work on something else; something easier. When that happens, try not to berate yourself for it. When this happens to me, I can tell it’s time to get up and do something else.
Refocusing my attention on something else, even something as banal as a household chore, allows me to vary what my mind is focusing on, and how my mind is focusing. In the summer I like to get out in the garden, in the winter, I’ll take a 15 minute reading break, or unload the dishwasher.
You can even switch to a different kind of work. Instead of writing another chapter on your novel, you can take a few minutes break and connect with some readers on Twitter.
What are your tips to counter procrastination in writing? Tell me in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this post, check out my novels!