Annie On Writing

April 4, 2011

Procrastinator? Me?

This article first appeared over at Write Anything.

Procrastination.. The devils handiwork at play. Anytime is a perfect time for procrastination to insidiously slip into your daily writing routine. What excuses do you have for not doing your work, for completing that manuscript, for submitting that piece?

Procrastination does not mean that you are lazy or inefficient. For some, it stems from the feelings of inadequacy or from the unattainable goal of writing perfectly the first time.

Procrastination is a habit with underlying myths and beliefs that only you can break. You may have a belief that you can only work in a tidy environment or that everything you write must be perfect, or that you must write on this sort of technology or in long hand first – or whatever…

Look at the reasons you are procrastinating and ask yourself if these reasons are valid or if they support your journey as a writer. To stop procrastination can be a lengthy process as it opens up hidden beliefs and values about yourself and your writing. Get yourself a writing buddy who is not afraid of giving you a boot up the bum ( figuratively speaking of course), set yourself some realistic goals and look into ways to get ‘unblocked’ with your writing. ( start with Julia Camerons course – the Artists Way)

On the lighter side.. if you think you are a procrastinator when it comes to writing.. nahhhh….Here are some things to do to REALLY get  you off track….…( any semblance of reality in the below list is a mere co-incidence)

1.    Have a sudden urge to remodel your pantry, pull out everything you own and categorize the contents.  Replace in alphabetical order.
2.    Discover your writing space looks tired and needs to either be repainted, re-organised or totally revamped. Spend the day going through old magazine cuttings and paperwork that has been piling up for a rainy day.
3.    Re-haul your filing system on your computer.  Rename all the folders and ensure each short story, articles and piece of writing you have ever done is clearly marked with a word count, category and is filed in a correct folder.  Start a spreadsheet to track progress of unfinished work ( goes for pages) and that which is ready for submission and final editing ( perhaps has one or two entries)
4.    Visit your bathroom several times and walk around aimlessly – suddenly decide to clean your toilet.  Ensure you get a small brush and scrub around the tiles and get very fussy with the way the extra rolls of toilet paper is stacked.
5.    Begin researching information for your next piece and get caught up with the social injustice of the subject area.  Join an action group and being writing letters and organizing fundraising efforts to support the work.
6.    Go to your blog or website and get dissatisfied with the way it looks and the functionality.  Spend many hours remodeling it, adding widgets and refashioning the style sheet so it looks perfect.
7.    Get depressed about the amount of traffic and lack of comments you get on your website. Spend hours joining and researching social networking groups and traffic generating areas such as facebook, digg, stumble and blogcatalogue or Blog Log. Join some writing forums and then decide to start your own writers support forum.
8.    Remember that you need to eat and feed your family sometime today. Decide to bake a cake or a three course meal, discover you have no ingredients and go shopping.

Just in case  you need some online things to procrastinate with – check out or NaNoWriMos Procrastination Station


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