In our most recent Facebook competition, we had writers share their biggest challenge when it comes to writing. Procrastination and a lack of motivation were listed as common challenges. In this blog post we’ll provide tips and insight into combatting procrastination and making the time to write.
I’ll Write Tomorrow
Procrastination is the enemy of art. Writers are commonly known as procrastinators, always waiting until the day before the deadline to crunch out an assignment. If you are your own boss and write when you feel like it, then when do you write?
It’s important to look at why writers procrastinate in the first place. When creating a book it can be daunting and self doubt can take over. We may feel flustered about our ideas, so showing up in front of a blank page becomes a dreadful experience that we do our best to avoid.
We believe there will always be tomorrow. That if we feel too busy with everything else in life or don’t feel the inspiration, maybe it will be there the next day. When the next day rolls around and nothing changes, then we put it off a little longer. What is getting in the way of writing for you? Is it procrastination, a busy life, or the fear of writing something that may not be the best?
Time, You Pass Me By
The world is busy and chaotic, there are deadlines and countless things to do, people to take care of - it can be challenging to find the time.
An easy question you can ask yourself is: am I a morning or night person? Whether in the early morning or late at night, there is a higher chance of being alone and having the space to write.
Carve out thirty minutes (or any amount of time), then set the timer and see how much you can write during that period. It will keep you focused on the task at hand and you’ll begin to exercise your brain to write during the allotted time. It may be difficult at first, but it will progressively become easier. The mind is like a muscle, the more you work on it, the better it will work for you.
There are many applications to capture your attention, especially social media. What does scrolling on Facebook for 30 minutes offer you? Could that time be better spent writing? This isn’t to say you can never relax and check on your friends, but your social media feeds will be there after you write.
Having a family with children to take care of is a 24/7 job in itself. Ask for help from others. Many writers ask their partners or family members to entertain the kids for the day so the other can have the time and space to write.
If every day is a challenge, set aside one day a week to write. This can involve not answering emails or phone messages with the automatic reply saying, “From this set time to this set time I will be unavailable as it is my writing day.” Now that’s making your priorities clear and putting your writing first!
The time is there, all we have to do is find a way to use it.
Motivate to Create
We’ve all had that moment while writing where the inspiration bubbles out of us and our fingers can’t move fast enough to put down our sentences and ideas. It may be why a lot of us write, this feeling of excitement.
Unfortunately, many writers feel they can’t write without that inspiration or excited feeling. When this feeling isn’t present and we find ourselves lacking the motivation, we may turn to the term “Writer’s Block.”
Writing is not going to feel exciting every time you do it. It will feel like a job. Treat it that way. Write even if you don’t feel like it. You can create good writing in your home with construction blaring outside as well as at your favorite coffee shop listening to your favorite album. If you wait for inspiration, it will take forever to write your book.
While writing, do not expect the very best. Write your ideas down and revise them later. If you revise while writing, the process becomes much longer and frustrating.
If there is a part in your book that you feel stuck on, leave it alone and work on a different section. You can always come back to it. You may even get that “Aha!” moment while cooking dinner or finishing a different section of the book. Sometimes, you need space away from the difficult sections rather than torturing yourself with a puzzle you aren't able to solve yet.
Published Authors on Procrastination
“The reality is—especially on a bad day, but really, on all days—writing is a job like any other. Only, you’re your own boss, and the boss, meaning you, must keep you in the chair, focused and committed to getting the task accomplished.” - Robert Crais, crime fiction writer
“Every little bit helps. 15 minutes a day for a week is still better than failing your intention to sit down for 2 hours on the weekend and then not doing it.” - Ryan Hipp, children’s illustrator-author
“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” - Napoleon Hill, nonfiction writer
All published authors have had difficulty with procrastination, motivation, and finding time to write, but they eventually showed up in front of that blank page. And then they did it again and again.
You can too. All you have to do is start.