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  • Writer's pictureJulia Heywood

No Time to Waste: Overcoming Procrastination as a Writer

Updated: May 11, 2023

Introduction

We've all been there, staring at the blinking cursor and a blank screen, feeling the weight of an unfinished project. Procrastination often creeps up on every writer, apparently sapping their creative juices and keeping them from achieving their goals. So, why do writers procrastinate? This blog will discuss the common causes of writer's procrastination and offer proven tips on how to tackle this invisible enemy and unlock your potential.


A cat sat on my head
The lengths I'll go to not to write!

Understanding Procrastination

Before we explore the solutions, it's essential to understand what procrastination is and what causes it. Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task, often resulting from a lack of motivation or the fear of failure. Writers, being artists who rely on imagination and creativity, are no strangers to these challenges. To push past procrastination, you need to identify the reason(s) behind it, which could range from writer's block to self-doubt to distractions.


Tips to Overcome Procrastination

1. Set realistic goals: One way to address

procrastination is to break your writing project down

into manageable tasks with specific deadlines. Set achievable short-term and long-term goals and track your progress. This way, you'll feel less overwhelmed and more focused on what needs to be accomplished.


2. Develop a writing routine: Establish a writing schedule that works best for you. This could mean allocating a specific time of day to focus on writing or setting aside a daily word count target. A solid routine makes it easier to stay on track and progressively builds momentum in your writing process.


3. Eliminate distractions: Create a dedicated writing space, free from distractions that may cause you to lose focus. Turn off your phone, close social media tabs, and minimise any unnecessary noise. Prioritise your writing and let your friends and family know the hours you work, so they understand and respect your need for focused time.


4. Use a timer: Sometimes, all you need is a little bit of pressure to overcome procrastination. Try setting a timer for 25 minutes (the Pomodoro Technique) and commit to writing during that time. Take a 5-minute break and then start another 25-minute session. This method trains your brain to develop discipline in sticking to your task for short bursts, increasing your productivity.


5. Overcome perfectionism: Remember that no first draft is perfect. Don't be held back by the need to craft the perfect sentence or plot. Write now, revise later. The editing process will take care of refining your work, so focus on getting your ideas down and embracing the freedom to create without constraints.


6. Find motivation: Look for internal and external factors that motivate you to write. These could include personal goals, the desire to share your story, or even the craving for recognition. Identifying what drives you can help you overcome the urge to procrastinate.


7. Practice self-compassion: Don't be too hard on yourself if you happen to fall victim to procrastination from time to time. Acknowledge your setbacks, but stay focused on your goals. Remember, all writers face challenges, and the key to success is persisting and learning from your experiences.


Conclusion

Procrastination is an enemy that every writer must conquer. By understanding the reasons behind it, setting realistic goals, creating a routine, eliminating distractions, and practising self-compassion, you'll strengthen your ability to focus on your writing and maximise your creative potential. Remember, consistency and discipline are the foundations of great writing, so defeat procrastination and propel yourself towards literary success.



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