5 Simple Ways to Cut Out Procrastination From Your Writing Life

5 Simple Ways to Cut Out Procrastination From Your Writing Life

5 Simple Ways to Cut Out Procrastination From Your Writing Life
Photo by Søren Niedziella / via Flickr

5 Simple Ways to Cut Out Procrastination From Your Writing Life

Got a writing project to work on? Are you working on it? Or are you procrastinating?

If you're procrastinating, welcome to the club. A ton of us are having a huge party over here, and we're having fun not writing. Because, well, you already know… writing can be painful sometimes, especially when the words aren't coming out just right or when the writing sounds terrible after a day or two. It's much easier to procrastinate.

But, of course, writing goals and procrastination don't mix. We can't achieve our writing goals if we procrastinate all the time. We have to spend time getting words on the page.

So, what is a writer to do about procrastination?

Here are some simple ways to cut out procrastination from your writing life…

1. Scheduling

It's not procrastination if you schedule it. It's something that you include when you map out your day or week and it becomes a task on your to-do list.

Make a list of all the ways you procrastinate throughout the day, and then see which ones you can lump together and schedule. Certain activities are great for getting the creative juices flowing. Agatha Christie suggested washing the dishes. Creativity experts swear by adult coloring books. Creativity is your gift, so look for creative ways to use activities to your benefit.

2. Mitigation

Some procrastination tendencies need to be eliminated or modified. For example, if you find food to be a distraction when you write, you have a few options. You can remove it from your writing station, limit the quantity, or choose a less distracting food. If I have chips or pretzels on my desk, I'll eat and eat until the bag is empty (or until self-control kicks in). But if I have a small dish of blueberries in front of me, I'll eat one or two occasionally as I write.

Pay attention to what affects your productivity and cut out procrastination by removing as many prospective distractions as possible.

3. Limit

Other tendencies may need a bit of self-control and a time limit. If you don't schedule tasks like social media, then at least set a time limit. And when the time is up, the time is up.

4. Intention

Be intentional about your time. If you want to go on Facebook, fine, but do it in a way that will actually be beneficial to you – like replying to comments on your Facebook page (building a fan page is a must for marketing whether you are self-publishing or going the traditional route). That way, it becomes more of a task than a way to procrastinate. You're using it in a way that works for you rather than a way that usually has no value.

5. Learn

If you keep finding yourself procrastinating when you should be writing, it's time to figure out what is causing you to procrastinate and then do something about it. If it's because you don't think your writing is up to par, you'll need to start studying the craft and practicing. Procrastination doesn't help us become better writers – only writing and studying the craft and practicing what we've learned can help us improve our writing skills. There are no shortcuts.

Procrastination doesn't need to have the final say. Stop cutting yourself so much slack with procrastination and get what you need out of each day. You've got writing goals waiting. 🙂

Jody Calkins
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