I know; there are boatloads of articles and blog posts out there listing methods of procrastination and how to overcome it. Yes, I am adding one more.
And yes, I am adding one more article on beating procrastination only a short while after complaining that I was having trouble getting stuff written.
I’ve realized I fall into a lot of standard methods of procrastination:
- checking email/Facebook/Twitter
- reading blogs on writing instead of writing
- not scheduling time
- not giving myself firm goals
Here are ways, that in the last few weeks, I’ve found to help me barge through procrastination and actually write:
1. Go to Starbucks!
The distractions at home nearly always inhibit my writing. Especially if I have a to-do list or roommates around.
It’s also a great way to score giftcards!
If there are people in your life who like to encourage you to write, then give them the option of tangibly helping you write. Starbucks giftcard = free drink = less guilt about going to Starbucks for a $3.00 tea instead of staying home for a 10 cent one = more words written!
2. Word-count Goals
When I tell myself “Just 500 words, and I can check Facebook,” or “I’m not leaving this chair until I’ve written 1000 words,” I usually make it. Quickly. This weekend I twice told myself, “1000 words, that’s my goal.” Within a couple of hours, I had 2000 words – two days in a row!
Word-count goals can be small or large. 500 words, 1000 words, 3000 words. Find one that works for you. For me, 1000 is completely doable. And often, I get to make a second 1000-word-count goal in one day. That makes me feel that much better about myself and my writing.
3. Go to Starbucks EARLY!
If I’m supposed to meet friends or be somewhere at 6:00pm, then I’ll head over at 4:00pm to chill in the Starbucks down the street for 2 hours and make that a solid time to write.
It’s about giving myself clear windows, a start time and an end time, to write without the distractions of home.
And then I get the reward of friends showing up and high-fiving me for getting writing done. True, they often try to pressure me into showing them what I’ve written… I usually promise that I’ll let them read it after the second draft. 🙂
4. Notebook it up!!
I know, everyone says this, but it’s true! I came up with the idea for this post on the streetcar the other day on my way to Starbucks to write. Instead of waiting until I arrived at the shop and had my laptop out of my bag, I wrote the idea down in my little notebook, along with seven other ideas for posts!
Character names, plot lines, scenes, outlines, titles, random incidents that could at some point make it into some kind of writing – all of these need to be recorded before they are lost, so notebook it up!
5. Tell Somebody That You Want to Write
Seriously. It works. Having someone else to give you advice or tips, keep you accountable, or just plain encourage you to keep trying makes a huge difference! Plus, it can be a great way to score free food or beverages (remember what I said in #1?)
And guess what, encouragers don’t even have to be in the same place as you! Thanks to this newfangled thing called the internet, you can connect with people all around the world!
Some of my encouragers are:
- E. – in British Columbia
- Beth – in Washington state
- Jana – in Norway
- Kim – in Alberta
- and my Mom – in Alberta (who do you think sent me a Starbucks giftcard?)
So go ahead, tell somebody that you want to write, see how they help you do so!
And last, but definitely not least:
JUST DO IT!
I’m not advertising for Nike here, I’m being quite serious. Just do it. That’s what I’m doing right now. Yes, I have procrastinated… I arrived home at 3:30, it is now 4:46. I’ve read some blogs, played some solitaire, checked Facebook, checked Twitter, called my brother, fiddled with the settings on my blogs, eaten some chocolate…and now I’m just doing it! I’m writing.
So now it’s your turn. Stop reading my blog (for a few minutes! Just a few, heehee) and write something. Or pick up the book you’ve been meaning to read and read the first chapter.
Trust me, you’ll find it hard to stop once you start. The starting is the hard part.