Procrastination. It’s like the alcoholism of the weak-minded writer; the bane of upstarts. It’s nature’s way of weeding out the pretenders.
That’s why we’re Writing All Wrong.
I wanted to write and see what advice you might have about procrastination. I’ve got one page written, and I can’t bring myself to write any more. As an aspiring writer, I know I can’t just let it sit there. What’s your advice on putting off procrastination?
—Jered Gillen, Dallas, Tx.
Shakespeare kicks Milton in the nether regions every time someone mentions the phrase “aspiring writer” in anything but a negative sense. Stop that. You, that is. Not Shakespeare. He does what he wants.
Procrastination can be helpful; it keeps you doing a whole bunch of stuff that doesn’t matter. These may not be the most “writerly” solutions, but you need something to start building the better habit of productivity. We can work on your crap writing some other time.
Tips on putting off writing procrastination:
1: Writing Fast
Padlock the fridge, freezer, and pantries. Mail the key to an editor. Only when you have fifty or so pages of a decent submission, have them mail the key back to you. Better hope he/she likes your stuff, or else you’ll be eating out until you get that writing in shape.
2: Face the Failure
Buy paper. Buy a printer. Print copies of the pittance of words you’ve mustered. Hang them everywhere. When your family complains about “all these blank pieces of paper,” I can only hope a little dagger was twisted within your heart.
3: Chart your Creative Consumption
When it comes to creative endeavors, you create, or you consume. All those hours on the TV, the Blu-Ray binging, the Tweeting, the blogrolling: you’re making yourself fat and useless. How many hours do you spend taking and taking and taking? And no, you don’t have to “give back,” just “do something!” Make a chart, let it show you how obese you’ve gotten in the creative consumption cesspool.
4: Refocus the Mismanagement
If you’re a procrastinator with something, you are not a procrastinator with everything. Complain about not picking up writing all you want, but you are picking up things that you could leave to the jaws of procrastinations. You’re always in the gym, I’m sure, trying to show off your awesome bod. You run x amount of miles so you can #humblebrag about it on Facebook. You’ll always make time to watch trite sitcoms, scripted reality TV, or other mindgum garbage. Give those things a rest for one. Put ‘em off.
5: Bite Sizing
Write a sentence a day. Yeah, that does make sense. Whether you have to keep your work in progress next to the loo, the shower, somewhere you park each day, it’ll remind you to get something done daily. And that’s a start.
Baby steps here, folks. Doing it “later” is “never doing it at all.” Or else you’d have done it already.
Writing All Wrong can be reached via email (WritingAllWrong@me.com) and followed on Twitter (@WritingAllWrong).