Showing posts with label procrastination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label procrastination. Show all posts

Friday, September 6

10 Ways To Overcome Procrastination

 10 Ways To Overcome Procrastination

The following tips are from C.S. Lakin's article, 10 Tips to Help You Avoid Procrastination, over at Live, Write, Thrive.

10 Ways To Overcome Procrastination

  • Make a writing schedule. Actually write it down and post it where it can stare you in the face. Let your family know you plan to follow it and ask for their support (to leave you alone so you can write). You can even ask them to nag and remind you to use that willpower.

  • Write for short periods of time. So you can feel that sense of discipline and accomplishment. If you try to set aside a whole day or a big block of hours, life may encroach.

  • Reward yourself when you meet your goal. Cookies! Literal or figurative. Or bake a cake. Take a bubble bath. Whatever works.

  • Work somewhere that won’t be distracting! Okay, that’s a hard one. Some people find the coffee shop noise helpful background ambiance. I drive to my local library four days a week to get away from my dog. Really. He drives me nuts with the ball and Frisbee. He’s a lab. He can’t help it. So I leave.

  • Get the other stuff out of the way. I can’t start work until I go through my e-mail and feel I’ve taken care of some stuff that I know will bother me if I don’t take care of it first. You know what stuff that is for you.

  • Close your e-mail programs and social networks, and turn off your phone. Yes, you really won’t die if you “unplug” for an hour or three.

  • Write at your best time. It’s way harder to push through to write if you’re sleepy or unfocused. I turn off my brain around 5 p.m

  • Get an accountability partner. If you want to set tough goals to reach a deadline, set up someone you have to report to or send your chapters to by a specific date and time. I know of one author who agreed to pay $100 every time he was late sending his required pages to his accountability partner. Sometimes he got them sent one minute before deadline, but it was great incentive for him.

  • Remind yourself you love to write. I hear from some writers how they’ve come to hate writing. If so, why bother? Write because you love it. It’s fun! Yes, it’s hard work, but so are a lot of things, like scrubbing grungy toilets and digging trenches. Personally, I think writing is a whole lot more fun to work at than a lot of other things. Writing is a privilege; a lot of people struggle each day just to find food and water to survive. Count your blessings. Change your attitude.

  • Think of yourself as a writer, that this is your job. Adjust your attitude to view your writing as a profession. Be professional. Treat your writing as a business and be responsible about it, just as you would any other job you are hired to do.
Great tips. Especially the one about distractions.

I love my cats. LOVE. But, gah! They can drive me nuts at times. One is a snuggle bunny, which is terrific, but he wants to snuggle when I want to write.

Writing with a cat draped over one shoulder is not easy. Doable, but not easy.

That said, I hope he never changes.

Time Scheduling Programs

I thought I'd add something to C.S. Lakin's list: keeping track of how much you write.

Currently I'm using Hours Keeper for the iPad and it's made a world of difference. It helps me stick with the task at hand rather than going off to do other things.

I admit that it's often difficult to remember to record what I'm doing but (of course) there's an app for that.

For those who DON'T like to clock in before you do something there are programs that record your activities automatically:


Here's an article from LifeHacker: Five Best Time-Tracking Applications.

It's an older article, but the apps are still around. Good info.

If procrastination is a problem for you--it is for me--try different things. Experiment. Perhaps you'll fine a pearl of wisdom that will resonate with you, perhaps keeping track of your time will help. Perhaps the key will be something completely different.

I think that, as is true with so much in life, the key is to experiment and find what works for you.

Whatever you try, good luck and good writing!

Photo credit: "His Royal Highness King Zawadi Mungu" by Ian Sane under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Saturday, April 6

How To Not Write Crap

The Writing Blahs

Every writer is different but I think, at some point, most of us have felt we're writing garbage. Absolute drivel.

I've felt that.

The temptation is to stop writing. No one likes writing crap (or what you feel is crap, sometimes it's not).

Being honest, I have to admit that occasionally, in the past, I have stopped writing. Here are some of the excuses I've used:

- I need to read because the second rule of writing is "Writer's read (critically)".
- I need to do research on the Internet.
- I need to tidy my desk so I'll be more productive.

But what happens is that I waste a half hour, or an hour, doing something that isn't writing.

Most of the time, though, if I feel I'm writing crap, I keep writing. I keep writing because, if I don't, there is zero chance I won't write crap.

No writing = No good writing

Besides, often, I just need to push through the whispers (or shouts) in my head telling me I'm a fraud, my writing is crap, no one will buy it, I'm deluding myself.

As I write, these voices fall away, or I forget about them. A new world unfurls around me and exploring it becomes more interesting than self-flagellation.

And I write words that don't totally suck.

When this happens a few times--this process of ignoring the voices, of proving them wrong--the voices become less strident, less credible.

I think the voices will always be there, just as there will always be someone who doesn't like what I write. But that's okay. The important thing is that I'm a writer and that I write.

#  #  #

I'm not sure where that came from! Over the past week I watched the first season of Girls and most of the second, so maybe I felt it was time to do a personal essay. (Hannah, the main character, writes essays.)

Now I'm wondering if watching Girls was procrastination but, no, writers are allowed downtime. Something is only procrastination if I do it during the time I've set aside for writing. Writers needs lives or we wouldn't have anything to write about!

Did I really just use watching Girls as an example of my having a life? Wow. I need to get out today. (grin)

Before I go, let me leave you with a fantastic writing link I just discovered. Someone emailed this to me, but the link is public so I'm passing it along:

The Thirteen Weeks Novel Writing Program

I'll talk about that more later, I wanted to share it with you now because it looked like a fabulous read.

Other articles you might like:

- Writing Scenes: Getting Up Close And Personal; Using Sensory Language
- The Strange: How To Hook A Reader's Interest
- 3 Elements Of A Great Story Opening

Photo credit: "A Case of The Rainy Day Blahs" by D Sharon Pruitt at Pink Sherbet Photography under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Tuesday, February 19

Structured Procrastination: Procrastinate And Get Things Done

Writers are often world-class procrastinators. Rather than writing now, we write later. The good news is that you can be a world-class procrastinator and still get things done.

John Perry writes:
[T]he procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.

Structured procrastination means shaping the structure of the tasks one has to do in a way that exploits this fact. The list of tasks one has in mind will be ordered by importance. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen. Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done.
.  .  .  .
Procrastinators often follow exactly the wrong tack. They try to minimize their commitments, assuming that if they have only a few things to do, they will quit procrastinating and get them done. But this goes contrary to the basic nature of the procrastinator and destroys his most important source of motivation. The few tasks on his list will be by definition the most important, and the only way to avoid doing them will be to do nothing. This is a way to become a couch potato, not an effective human being.

At this point you may be asking, "How about the important tasks at the top of the list, that one never does?" Admittedly, there is a potential problem here.

The trick is to pick the right sorts of projects for the top of the list. The ideal sorts of things have two characteristics, First, they seem to have clear deadlines (but really don't). Second, they seem awfully important (but really aren't). Luckily, life abounds with such tasks. In universities the vast majority of tasks fall into this category, and I'm sure the same is true for most other large institutions.
To learn more, read Structured Procrastination.

Other articles you might like:

- Story Craft: Five Important Questions
- Joe Konrath Made $15,000 dollars over 7 days using Amazon Select
- Screenwriting Software: Adobe Story

Photo credit: "¿¿¿???" by Luz Adriana Villa A. under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Thursday, June 14

Write Or Die: The App

write or die dr. wicked ipad app
Write Or Die!

An article I just read reminded me that the famous, or should I say, infamous, writing app Write Or Die has transformed into an app for the iPad.
For writers, procrastination is an eternal enemy. It has classically waited in the pauses between words, in that argument outside the window, in being thirsty and needing a glass of water, in having to run to the bathroom. Now, with the Internet, it's also lurking there on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram and Path, and wait, did the London Review of Books just post a new issue online?

In other words, procrastination is everywhere.

Avoiding the procrastination temptation can be too much to ask. But hey, there's an app for that.
Write or Die is made specifically to keep writers on task. It comes with the tag line, "Putting the 'prod' in productivity."

How the app works: Writers begin typing in the app's window. When the typing slows to a stop, there are consequences. The writer can set how severe those consequences will be. In "gentle" mode, a notice pops up with a kind reminder that it's time to start writing. In "normal" mode, the app begins to emit an unpleasant sound, which only stops once the typing begins again. In "kamikaze" mode, the app is set to destroy: when the writing has stopped for too long, the words begin to erase themselves. There is also a "nyan cat" mode, turning an Internet meme into a destructive force.

The message is clear: Keep writing, or else.

Write or Die started out in a desktop version, created by a "Dr. Wicked," and became available as an app for the iPad last fall. Why pay attention now? Turns out, its system of possibly disastrous punishments actually works.

That's according to Helen Oyeyemi, a British writer whose novel "Mr. Fox" just came out in paperback in the U.K. When asked for writing advice this week by The Guardian, Oyeyemi recommended Write or Die, saying, "Because, sometimes, fear is the only motivator."
Read the rest here: Not writing? There's an app for that: Write or Die.

Here is a link to Write Or Die in the app store.

I've been experiencing a bit of writers blog so thought, "This is just the thing! I'll download it." Then I got sticker shock: $9.99! I know many writers swear by the (free) internet version of this app, and I was going to pay anywhere up to $5, but I've never paid $10 for an app.

Hmmm ... I think I need a glass of water ...