Procrastination: the act or habit of postponing or delaying
In other words…not taking action. And isn’t that what we expect our hero and heroine to do? Go on a quest, find the treasure, defeat the bad guy, vanquish the evil queen. Just as there is no story without the protagonist taking steps and overcoming conflict to achieve their goal (actions), there is no story if the author does not write. What good is a scene if it unfolds in the writers mind, but is never put down on paper? Writing is creating. Creating is an action.
If we’re procrastinating, we’re passive. Passive is waiting for our muse to come out of hiding and tell us what to say. But each of us have something to say. Stories to tell.
So what’s holding you back?
• Self-doubt – What makes you think you can do this?
– Those ugly negative “can’t” voices in your head.
→ Try reading and reciting affirmations. Find one or two that resonates with you & tape them where you can see them while you write.
• Worry what others will think – Oh, you write those kind of books?
– My brother will never approve of what I write. Well, I didn’t write with him in mind, so it shouldn’t appeal to him. I never shared my love of reading romance with him either, so what he believes shouldn’t matter.
→ Don’t overvalue other’s responses & opinions. Each persons life experience is different. What speaks to one, may not speak to another.
→ Don’t let the discomfort or embarrassment of someone who loves you become your own. Realize it’s their issue to deal with and let it go.
• Fear of Failure – I’ll never – fill in the blank – get it right.
– Writing is something that comes from deep within us. If the writing is rejected, so is the person. But wait, that’s wrong. They are not rejecting you. We read a certain author because we can relate to them.
→ Understand everyone fails. Failure teaches lessons that we need to succeed.
→ True failure is quitting something we love.
• Fear of Success – I’m working so hard now and all I’ve heard is there’s even more stress once your published. DEADLINES!
– Success isn’t one size fits all. Realize everyone views success differently.
→ Try mapping out specific steps to help you achieve your vision of success.
• Perfectionism – Wait! I’m not finished. Just one more revision.
– You set unattainable standards and work feverishly. Yet you can’t let go and send your baby off into the editor universe. Your fear of letting go is as real as putting your kindergartener on the bus the first day of school.
→ Try instead to focus on your progress.
→ Perfectionist have those lists and maps. Tick off those check marks & when each items is done – send your baby off for an exciting adventure.
• Overwhelmed – There’s so much to do. How can I do it all?
– Writing a complete manuscript can be daunting & turn into the inability to make decisions. Add to that, you work a full-time day job. You have a husband, kids, bills to pay, dinner to make, homework to check, a taxi service to run…it can all become too much. You’re stressed, overtired, miss opportunities, feel guilty, which in turn stops you from producing.
→ Try making your project more manageable by breaking it into smaller segments.
→ Try making a list and prioritize. What is most important to you now?
• Getting Distracted – Eewww, look, something shiny. –Dory from Finding Nemo
– Distractions are all around us. Laundry. Kids. TV. Kids. Facebook. Kids. Solitaire. Did I mention kids?
→ Try moving to a place conducive to you working. A friend of mine goes to the library every weekend without fail.
→ Try setting goals & reward yourself when you achieve them.
You may find that you suffer from one or more of these insidious behaviors. I certainly have and several of the strategies above have helped me over the years.
Procrastination – The Musical Click on the link to view a fun 2 minute video.
I belong to a Procrastination Group. That’s right – women who choose to procrastinate together. Just kidding. We’re a group of writers who set goals and report our weekly progress. This is a no judgment zone – just encouragement. Without these wonderful ladies, I wouldn’t be half as far as I am.
Now there are other kick-butt types of boot camps. There are people who can write under those types of pressure. And if that works for you – great – go for it. I know I can’t.
Which brings me to my last point. Know yourself! Figure out what makes you tick. What makes you focus? What keeps you going? What stops you cold? What holds you back?
Understand your positive and immerse yourself with it. Understand your negative and avoid it.
Find other writers that have the same purpose, who are willing to set goals and want to support each other. Surround yourself with people who want your success almost as much as you do.
So what about you? Do you procrastinate? What do you do to delay your progress? And what can you change to make your writing dreams come true?