I’ll admit it: I’m a highly accomplished procrastinator. I can turn on my computer to do some writing and an hour later still be flicking through such-and-suches latest holiday photos after I decided to ‘quickly check Facebook first’. One of the many reasons I recently started blogging was as a way to try and make sure I was writing on a regular basis, hence why my first tip for fellow procrastinators is:
1. Start a blog
Seen as you’re currently reading a blog, there’s every chance you are already a member of the blogosphere. However, if you have simply arrived here via Google (having been procrastinating by Googling procrastination-tackling tips) then this is definitely something to consider. I had thought about blogging for a couple of years before finally setting up Boats Against The Current, and I think actually committing to producing a certain amount of posts a week gives you a deadline for yourself to get some writing done. It also offers you the chance to connect with others and get some kind of feedback and interaction over something you’ve written, and that is a pretty good motivation in itself!
2. Write in a distraction-free zone
If possible, write somewhere that isn’t a. in front of the TV or b. in the hub of the family home. I personally always write in my room, which, being in a loft conversion, is pretty out of the way. I also always make sure to sit at my desk which is in a little cubby hole out of view of the TV, and keep all internet windows closed unless absolutely necessary, so as to avoid the black hole of social media that it is so easy to be drawn into!
3. Have a writing schedule
This was one way I managed to turn things around in regards to my writing. I’m definitely an ‘I’ll do it later’ kind of person, so by setting aside specific times each week when I would sit down at my desk and not allow myself to leave until I had finished the designated writing time, I started to see results. I think that treating it like an actual job, where you start at this time, and finish at this time, makes it into an actual job, and like something you just have to do, even if you’re just not feeling like it that day.
4. Keep a writer’s journal
One of the reasons many writers (or would-be writers) procrastinate is the dreaded ‘writers block’. It can be hard to sit down and write if you are feeling uninspired and simply can’t think of anything at all to write about. As I seem to go through phases of having loads of ideas and then having none, I make sure to write down any in a notepad (a sparkly leopard print one, if you must know!) so that when writer’s block strikes and I’m tempted to simply ‘wait for inspiration’, I can simply flick through it, pick whichever off-the-cuff idea I come to first and start writing.
5. Write even if it’s rubbish
In the same vein, if inspiration, as it so often does, fails to strike, write anyway. I got most of my university essays done by forcing myself to write a rubbish first draft and then consistently going over, and over, and over it, redrafting it until it was good. The same can be applied to fiction writing or any other kind of writing; what you write might be rubbish and have to be scrapped, but at the same time, it might not. Even if it’s bad (and first drafts often are) you might be able to turn it into something good, and if not, it’s still all practise!