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7 Strategies to Stop Writer Procrastination

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Sometimes it’s just impossible to write. Life gets in the way or something shinier comes along, something way more fun than writing.

I’ve been writing for ten years now, and I’ve come up with several strategies to give myself a kick start when the last thing I want to do is write to meet a looming deadline.

1. Do timed writing sessions.

Set your oven timer or computer/phone timer for half an hour or an hour. Sit down and write until the timer goes off. Repeat throughout the day until your target number of words is achieved.

2. Do timed writing sessions with other writers.

Call a friend and do a joint writing session. If you belong to a group like Savvy Authors or Romance Divas pop into their chat rooms and do some sprint writing with other writers. Find other writers on Twitter using the hashtag #1k1hr and accept their challenge.

3. Go to a cafe or library.

Write in a cafe or a library – a place where you can’t leap up and do something else. This is my favorite strategy.

4. Give yourself a deadline/target.

Then sit down and write. Kick your deadline’s butt. I try to write 2000 words most days. If I’m having a tough time keeping my butt in my seat, I’ll break down my target words into 500 word blocks and attack them in shorter writing sessions.

5. Earn a treat.

Make a deal with yourself. If you sit down and write the required number of words within a specified time, you’ll receive a treat. The treat can be something like watching a movie or taking time out to read a book or a chocolate bar.

6. Try working on a scene that comes later in the book.

Sometimes we need a change of pace to get the words flowing.

7. Just do it.

Sometimes, we need to grit it out and force ourselves to write. The output mightn’t be pretty, but remember that at least we’re putting words to paper. We can always fix them later during the polishing stage.

Do you have any additional suggestions?

Strategies for Procrastinating Writers by Shelley Munro

I’m visiting Terry’s Place, the hangout of author Terry ODell today and talking about Strategies to beat Procrastination.

Change procrastination to productivity.

Does this sound like something you need? Yes? I have to admit there are times when I’m a champion procrastinator. Yes, it’s true. Sometimes attacking the ironing pile seems like way more fun than sitting down to write. On days like this it can take me hours to pound out my target number of words, and each one is dragged from me kicking and screaming. Read more at Terry’s Place.

The Egg-Timer Method

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I’m terrible at procrastinating and my usual “Just Do It” attitude hides at the bottom of the garden. It can be writing procrastination or housework related or perhaps the ironing pile. When I find things are out of control, and I’m not getting anything done, I turn to my trusty egg-timer. (Actually, it’s the oven timer but either works)

So here’s my hint for people who are having trouble fitting writing into a busy day or aren’t getting certain hated household chores done. Set your timer for half an hour and write this entire time or iron or whatever chore you’ve put off. It might be difficult at first, but do keep it up because gradually you’ll get past the procrastination. Half an hour passes quickly, and you’ll be surpised how much you’ll get done if you’re focused and concentrating. You can also apply this to children – perhaps they can tidy their rooms for half an hour while you’re writing. No? Okay, I’m good but not a miracle worker!

What strategies do you use to counteract procrastination?