Make it Work
Make It Pay
All writers succumb to the perils of procrastination at one time or another. By putting off a writing assignment until the last minute, a writer might end up frantically typing into the wee hours of the night; rushing to meet a deadline before it’s too late. However, procrastination isn’t about being lazy. It can stem from a deeper fear of failure.
“It’s so much easier to not try than to try and end up failing,” Jessica Mills, creator and writer of the web series Awkward Embraces, said. “Writing, especially, is so personal. Every time I send out something I wrote I think ‘What if people hate it?’ It’s such a personal thing because you’re taking yourself and building words out of your own thoughts and experience. You’ve just got to remind yourself that as long as you’re writing something, you’re doing your job and that the right words will always find you. But they can’t find you if you’re curled up under the covers with your Kindle in one hand and you’re smart phone in the other.”
With the constant lure of reading emails, watching TV, and checking in to Facebook to see what friends are up to, it’s easy to be distracted away from pending deadlines until it’s too late. But never fear, there are tricks and tips on how to stay focused and overcome the urge to waste time.
“I start my day, every day, writing. I have writing rituals, which help put me in the zone when I start writing,” Examiner.com blogger Denise Vasquez said. “I find an inviting, quiet, environment, light my favorite incense, brew coffee, turn off my phone, pull out my journal and my favorite pen, open to a blank page. I’ve found that sometimes my words flow easier when I use a pen & write in my journal so I surround myself with the tools I need that inspire me.”
For other writers it helps to set aside a specific amount of time for writing, then take multiple breaks to prevent burnout.
“Before I begin, I’ll write out a schedule,” Comediva.com writer Eric Collin said. “I’ll give myself blocks of time to write. If I find I can’t write, I’ll open a text document and start writing about how I can’t write. The flow comes back and it’s back to the races. When the alarm goes off, put the keyboard down and walk away. Break for 15 minutes. Then I’ll start up again. It may sound like insanity but this little system has tripled my productivity level in the last month. Make a system for yourself and commit to it.”
Procrastination habits are hard to break, but it can be done with perseverance and patience. Writers need to cut themselves some slack or else they could end up feeding into their fears of failure.
“It’s so easy to give yourself the third degree for procrastinating, but all that really does is keep you in a cycle of avoidance because it just feeds the fear that caused you to procrastinate in the first place,” Collin said. “I find that showing yourself a little patience and compassion is what gets you to sit down and write. I hear a lot of people try to brow beat themselves into writing. They’ll advocate a kind of drill sergeant attitude towards forcing themselves to get it done, but I really feel like this just plays into the whole fear aspect as well.”
“Writing should always be an experience that fulfills you,” Collin said. “You shouldn’t be forcing yourself to do it. Practice being patient with yourself. Practice taking focus off results and put it on the process. If you can do that, your work will happen right before your eyes. For me, I always keep in mind one of my favorite quotes on writing by Thomas Mann: ‘A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.’”