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Procrastination help for writers who procrastinate

Procrastination help is needed to combat the blank page

Many writers fall into the mind-numbing, anti-productive state of procrastination. It’s an easy place to live — especially today. Even the most productive writers, except for maybe Stephen King, often fall prey to its allure and require a healthy dose of procrastination help.

Today is Anti-Procrastination Day. Writers should embrace this holiday and make it their own. The fact that it falls during the month of the famed writing marathon NaNoWriMo makes for a delicious pairing. If there is one thing NaNoWriMo does, it’s offer a major dose of procrastination help for any writer who has fell victim to the blank page or a life of distraction. Yes, perhaps it’s akin to surgery but it does work. Words are written. Pages are completed. First drafts are created. (When it comes to procrastination help, NaNoWriMo is a great tool.) I say make every day Anti-Procrastination Day.

Most writers are in need of procrastination help.

The thing all writers do best is find ways to avoid writing.”  ~ Alan Dean Foster

Great writers who needed procrastination help

Even a writer as noted as Franz Kafka was a bit of procrastination junkie who delighted in taking 4-hour naps and whittling away the hours of the day with a myriad of daily tasks. A personal favorite is the writer Colette who allowed herself to be distracted by picking the fleas from her dog. I’d give her an A for creativity.

You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.
What mood is that? Last-minute panic.” ~ Bill Watterson

Procrastination leads to major avoidance

What mood do you have to be in to write? A friend of mine claims to only be able to write a novel when he has a contract in hand. You can see how limiting that can be long-term and procrastination help is needed. Many writer friends have waited at the doorstep of inspiration only to find the door closed for months, even years. The writing muse can be a hard master. Frankly, mood is probably not the best indicator on whether this is a good day to write — or not.

Today’s writers have multiple distractions at their beck and call. It is easier than ever to choose not to write. But is it distraction or a lack of discipline? I know of writers who couldn’t seem to limit their use of today’s technology either by time or intent who have taken the extreme measure of closing their social media accounts. Others, in order to cancel out the lack of boundaries within the family life, can only write when they are out of the house.

We are so scared of being judged that we look for every excuse to procrastinate.”  ~ Erica Jong, Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life

Writers who procrastinate suffer long-term

Writers who procrastinate often find they harm themselves when it comes to self-confidence, self-esteem, and productivity. For writers who love to write, every day of not writing is a day of lost joy. Whether you show up at the computer every day but fail to produce a word, or whether you fall into the major avoidance camp of writers who will do anything but sit down to write, the bottom line is a severe loss of productivity leading to the drama of  an undeveloped creative life. These writer are in dire need of procrastination help.

Identify the source of your procrastination

If you find yourself lost in a decorator’s dream rearranging your office furniture or mired in the clutter of a writer’s life of paper clips, magazines, and books, it’s time to stop whatever you are doing. Are you in major avoidance? Have you fallen victim to dithering away your life? What are you doing?

Perhaps even more, the question is what do you want? Does the act of writing have any true meaning for you? Why have you not made it a priority? It takes guts to ask yourself tough questions. It takes perseverance to dig deeper and deeper to discover what is at the core of your procrastination. It may even take some time. Harder still is to ask yourself why the excuses?

Many reasons may fuel your procrastination. Fear is a major factor whether it’s fear of success or fear of failure. Maybe you simply don’t like to be alone, to be solitary. I say, take thee to Starbucks, my friend. Perhaps you can’t bring yourself to write anything other than perfection. This leads to a major case of paralysis.

Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.”  ~ Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

How to break out of the self-imposed jail of procrastination

If nothing else, procrastination is a bad habit. Procrastination help involves applying the tools, techniques, and tips to break a habit can be beneficial and offer guidance when seeking procrastination help. For instance, a habit is not formed in a day. To break a habit time is needed. Don’t expect to turn your procrastination on its head overnight. Understand that it takes time and daily commitment to be successful.

Identify keys to your productivity

Examine the times when you were productive. What were you doing? Where were you? What motivated you? Discerning a pattern of success that you can then apply to today’s writing time will help you fight procrastination. Use those successful models to set up a daily ritual that will lead you to becoming a productive and disciplined writer.

Change your self-talk and turn the negatives into positives

Motivation is a huge key to success in any endeavor. Don’t focus on why you can’t write but on why you want to write. Listen to your language when you talk to yourself and to others. What are you saying? Are you laboring over how much you don’t write? Throwing up excuses and reasons why the words don’t come and the pages don’t happen?

Flip that way of thinking and talking and challenge yourself to dig deep and counter all that negativity with sincere positive talk. Tell yourself every day is a day you write and produce and focus on the work at hand.

Inch by inch, everything’s a cinch

Procrastination help involves breaking tasks down to bite-size actions. Yes, I know, John Bytheway’s quote is actually “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard,” but I had an Avon director during my early selling days who often quoted “everything’s a cinch” and that simple line provided a great deal of motivation and success to her sales team.

Essentially, it’s the time-proven method of breaking large chunks into smaller ones. Honing a task down to its simplest action and taking that first necessary step to make things happen.  So, today you don’t write a novel, you don’t write a chapter, you write a scene. It is the single most effective dose against the onslaught of feeling overwhelmed.

Become accountable

Procrastination help often means a writer has to reach out to others. Writers are often solitary creatures who often don’t want to talk out their stories or share what they are doing. Procrastinators aren’t too happy to share their affliction or even admit they have a problem. Now is the time to find an accountability partner, a writing buddy, someone who will be there to help you through the rough patches. You have to own up to the problem if you want it fixed.

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out. ” ~ Ray Bradbury

Take action today, don’t delay

Choosing to write today is major procrastination help.You must take action. Yes, that strikes at the core of procrastination but it must be done. Even if you only write 50 words, write something — and do it every day. You can do everything offered above but if you don’t write and begin to convert the habit of delay into taking action today, the new habit will never override the old. So it all comes down to sticking your butt to the chair and writing.

So there’s my two-cents for how to turn a procrastination day into an anti-procrastination day. Procrastination help exists. You can write daily. Go make it happen.

Share your thoughts and ideas below as I love to hear from my readers and check out the books below for more procrastination help.

Books – Procrastination help for writers

 

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  • Virginia Allain

    I think you should write a book on this. I could procrastinate on my writing by getting your book and reading it.