That’s me, Queen of Procrastination. Sadly I wear the crown proudly most of the time. I know all the tricks to not have time to write, yeah you read right, to NOT write. Sounds like a chore, right? For me it feels like a chore, and I don’t like to do chores. Every time I should do something I automatically no longer want to do it.
Procrastination is my biggest obstacle when it comes to writing, I don’t prioritize it high enough. I even clean house before writing, and I hate doing chores, really hate it. The other day I cleaned my bathroom, something I’ve been putting f for a long time, instead of writing this blog post just because I HAD to write it.
While I was cleaning, which didn’t take long to do, I thought about one of my favourite characters, Claire Fraser from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. She also hates doing the everyday mundane tasks that you’ll repeat tomorrow. I realized I began cleaning the bathroom because I made a CONSCIOUS decision to stop putting off things I needed to do.
Procrastination is the biggest enemy to my life as a writer.
How to Stop Procrastinating
First, we need to look at WHY we procrastinate and what we can do to overcome it. Do you fall into the pit of self-pity, or end up in the fear of failure cave? Or is it worse than that, do you end up on the top of the fear of success mountain? I’m on the mountain top, in my cave. Yeah, I have the fear of failure AND the fear of success.
Who am I if I’m not the struggling writer? Who am I if I never get to write all the stories I have in my head? Like many of you, I have said to myself “If I could just get started…” then… Well, guess what? You can’t start if you don’t sit down and put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.
4 Ways We Procrastinate
- Don’t have anything to say, or the words don’t come out as you want? Then write that! Write about all that walls you put up that hinder you. Yes YOU put them up, make a Top 10-list, or Top 12 on why you can’t write.
- Is it important to clean the house now, will someone die if it’s messy? Can’t focus on the writing surrounded by the mess, then clean the house and remove your excuse not to write.
- The word faucet won’t flow? Put on some music that you know pulls your heart strings, write down what you feel listening to it. Put the emotions into a character. You write an entire piece from just one song.
- Need something more visual? Put on one of your favourite movies. I tend to go to Harry Potter or Resident Evil, because I dabble in more than one genre so I need different inspiration depending on what I’m working on. Pick one that you have seen enough times so you don’t need to watch. Use the movie as a background noise to draw inspiration from. Pick a favourite line or capture what resonates true to your own story.
“Be a writer not a waiter.”
I really love this quote, it puts everything into perspective. Do you want to be a writer or a waiter? Every moment you don’t write is a moment you’re a waiter, you wait for the right time or the right project or the right opportunity to appear.
According to WritersLife.com, “over 99% of professional writers – those whose writing is their primary source income – never make the bestseller’s list.” Do you really need to get your book on the bestseller’s list? I, for one, will be happy the day I can live off my writing and can stop shuttling to and from a 9-5 gig.
If you can’t find time during the day because you work full-time, have a spouse and/or kids, activities several days a week, you will have to make time. Get up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later than usual. I’m just as shocked as you are that I’m mentioning this! I love my sleep and I need it to be nice to people around me. But it is a good way to get more time during the day if you REALLY don’t have time.
An extra hour a day gives you seven hours a week to write. I’m following my own advice as well, being unemployed now I don’t have to get up early in the mornings, but I’m setting my alarm clock for 8 am, and I make sure I get up then. It has improved my writing time in a big way, I’m crunching out over 1,000 words daily and that’s just in the mornings. One day I even crushed the 2,000 words limit! If I, the Queen of Procrastination, can do it so can you.
No More Excuses for Procrastination
Are you getting the picture? Will you stop procrastinate? I will stop! I’m facing my fears head on, being an Aries I should have done this years ago. Ha ha… The word procrastination is just another word for indecision. You are simply not choosing to be a writer. It’s harsh, I know, but the truth is harsh. We who procrastinate are choosing not to write.
Be aware of your choices and the consequences they have. Watching your favourite tv show may be eating up writing time. Instead use it as a reward AFTER you write. If you don’t own a DVR, write during the commercials. In Sweden, we have about 5 minutes of commercials every 15 minutes or so. That’s 20 minutes for an hour-long show, plenty of time to write.
Promise yourself you will stop procrastinating today! You’ll thank yourself later when you hold your book in your hand, or the newspaper that published your short story. Writing this blog post helped me crush the 2 000-word limit again in less than a week. I’m tossing my procrastination crown in the trash. I might be nominated for another one in the future, but now that I know that it’s not the crown I want to wear, I’ll put on my writer’s cap and graciously decline.
Are you with me? Ready to kick it to the curb? Share how you plan to exchange your procrastination crown for your writer’s cap.
Sonja Fröjdendal is an author who can’t make up her mind on which genre to write in. Ever since she forced her mom to teach her to read, books by Astrid Lindgren was the ignition for her dream to be a writer. Inspiration comes from everywhere and in any shapes or forms.
Sonja lives in Sweden, her first publication was a self-published poetry book on Amazon back in 2013. Since then she’s had three novels published in three anthologies and is currently working on the fourth, none in the same genre. She can be found on her author page on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkdIn, Google+, Twitter, or Instagram.