“All I want to do today is get some writing done!” I said excitedly this morning. It was as if I was giving myself a personalize Writer’s Pep Talk! I was smiling, I was earnest, I almost had a plan and a schedule!
Why then was I sitting in my driveway checking twitter at 4 pm after I dropped my daughter off at her film shoot?
I knew I didn’t have a lot of time to waste, so why was I on twitter, checking out the tweets using the hashtag #amwriting? I might not have noticed this was strange until I saw myself typing into my phone “I’m doing so well at procrastinating I checked who used #amwriting so I can “network” as a writing warm up?”
I rushed into my house and decided to google “writers and procrastination”.
Interesting to see how an academic institution differs from a professional website, I thought, before I realized, “I am still not writing.”
How often does this sort of thing happen to you?
During the pandemic I have reinvested in my interest in hiking. I started walking regularly for my health and hiking is another extension of that. I could do all the right prep work: research the best trails for beginners, , buy hiking boots, talk about hiking, drive to the trail and arrive at the trailhead early in the day, but if I didn’t actually get out of my car and put my feet on the trail, I wouldn’t really be a hiker.
Something changes when we actually follow through on what we say we want to do.
There are moments when we have to be our own writing coach check in with ourselves as we tweet and realize “I am writing a tweet to connect with other writers maybe because I am lonely, but why don’t I use ‘networking with other writers” as a reward once I actually write.
Here are three easy ways to settle your racing, procrastinating mind and sit at your keyboard and write something useful and productive instead of tweeting, ordering the next “how to write” book on Amazon or sending a direct message to your writing buddy to check in about how much you want to (yet aren’t) writing.
- Set up a reward system for your writing time. If you say you are going to write at a specific time, WRITE – and have a plan to reward yourself. Say, “I will work on Chapter 3 of my novel at 11:00 am until 11:30 am. I will reward myself with 10 minutes on twitter. Set your timer and USE it. Repeat with different times and rewards. Find the time allotments that work best by experimenting and playing with your schedule.
- Give yourself the gift of a writing warm up. If you have a particular subject or assignment, before you begin working specifically on that subject, give yourself 5 minutes (again, use a timer) to do a free write, stream of consciousness writing warm up. CAVEAT: when five minutes are up, write 5 sentences that include affirming your intention, your abilities and gratitude. Those five sentences may sound like this: “I am so grateful I have this opportunity to write today. Russell values my writing work and praised my blog post about refugee camps in times of Covid19. I feel confident this new work about influencing grandparents to actively engage their gamer grandchildren will make a difference in the world. When I am done, I will walk around the block and then come back and prepare for another writing session. I am a capable writer.”
- Let go of the need to have anything precisely the same every time you write. “I can’t write because I don’t have my lucky blue mug to keep me company.” News flash: it isn’t your blue mug that is lucky, it is your butt in your writing seat, consistently getting words on the page that makes you lucky.
Did you notice what happened? Earlier today I said, “All I want to do today is get some writing done!” and now I have. I managed to stay away from twitter, I managed to not worry that I am separated from my coffee maker and I even didn’t throw my shoe at the loud noisemaking box someone else in my Covid19 too crowded space insists on keeping on constantly.
How did your writing go?
I have a lot of new ideas about ending writer’s procrastination and there may be more articles on this topic being published soon! Be sure to follow me on social media (links are above) and/or join the private Word-Love Writing Community on Facebook where we not only talk strategies and insights, we also regularly host writing sprints and community brain dumps and more, just for you.