Let’s put this under common writer problems – procrastination.
When writing was a hobby I could punch out anything at anytime – poems, short stories, long stories, anthologies, whatever.
But when I decided to take it on full-time, all of a sudden that stupid dung beetle (aka writers procrastination) writhed into my life and bit me.
He crawled on my keyboard, slithered on my outline, stole my notes and creeped his way into every conversation I had with my main characters.
I’d really like him to take a permanent vacation.
So I went searching for the Eradicator – something, anything, a Raid of sorts – to help me get rid of the procrastination pest.
I’ve jotted down a few of these tools in the hopes that maybe they can help you too, sweep that bug from your life.
So let’s get after it.
Tool 1- Kitchen Timer
Are you writing or trolling the Internet? Give yourself a timer for the distraction – say 10 minutes – then get back to work.
Or write for 30 minutes, then give yourself a 10 minute social break.
Tool 2- Word Count
Do I have a word count goal or am I cleaning out the fridge today?
Try a word count. Write 250 words, take a break.
Tool 3- Page Count
How about a page count goal or is this organizing-the-office day?
Same idea as above. Give yourself a page count and then you can take a break.
Tool 4- Scenes
Do I want to finish one scene or two, or maybe I’d rather watch TV for more “research” ideas?
How about you finish those scenes first?
Tool 5- Time of Day
Do I write at the exact same time every single day or do I keep filling that space with essentials like alphabetizing my book collection?
Writing at the same time of day is an exceptionally good habit. Your body likes structure in its day.
Tool 6- Favorite Place
Do I write in the same place every day (well-lit, uncluttered and mine) or is it filled with bills, homework or other fun stuff?
Studies have been shown that a pavlovian response happens when you do the same thing in the same space.
Think about how you feel when you walk into the kitchen. Are you really hungry or is that just where the food is?
Some experts say two weeks of the same thing at the same time and you’ll have that habit down. Other experts say three weeks.
I say, pick one of the habits above and commit to 22 days.
Use a calendar to cross off the days.
It will help you stick with it when you see an end in sight.
What you’ll find is the end won’t matter because the habit will be ingrained.
Why 22 days?
Because if it takes three weeks to establish the habit, by the time you get to day 22, you’re all set.
The sketch is from my good friend Chris Watt, please see more of his illustrations at http://macgregorsisland.com/