Vanquishing PROCRASTINATION, A Users’ Guide
Don’t kid yourself, PROCRASTINATION is a demon straight from the very pits of hell. It’ll wrap you up in tangles of other tasks that seems fun at the time – but exist only to derail you. The only acceptable version of PROCRASTINATION is housework, but who actively wants to scrub the kitchen floor?
So, you want to know how to kill the demon? Settle down, sharpen that sword and come along with me for the first six (in no particular order) of a Twelve Step adventure of our very own.
Admit that PROCRASTINATION is now part of your writing life – this is half the battle, after all. Decide if you actively want to change this – it can be such fun, after all. Define at what point it stops being ok and starts being a problem. Now work on changing your act.
2. Write SMARTer
Set achievable goals. Use the SMART acronym to aid you. If, like me, you’re in PROCRASTINATION rut, set smaller goals. My preference is to break a goal into little goals so I can tick my way through the list towards glory. If only life had a little ‘Level Up’ jingle to accompany this.
3. Buddy up
Get a writing buddy, in person or virtual, set a target of writing against a time, monthly or weekly, your choice. Set a weekly time to make contact and confess progress (of lack of) to your writing buddy. It’s ok to say you have achieved little, it’s not ok to continually say the same. Your buddies also look to you to spur them on, remember your own buddy responsibilities – it’s a two-way street.
It’s a diet. Everything in moderation, as they say, but stick to the battle plan. This also ties in perfectly with the goal setting. Think positively and celebrate your successes.
5. Join a Writing Group
Surround yourself by others who write, enjoy writing, are actively developing – and who can also have a few troubles with the ol’ Big P wot we’re talking about here. This is also a good place to find some Writing Buddies if you haven’t got any already – they’re not that easy to find down the pub, after all.
6. Take A Break
If it’s proving too challenging to vanquish then consider taking a break from all writing to recharge your creative batteries. Use the time to relax and let the pressure go. Warning: In order for this to work you need to be disciplined about getting back on the writing bus – link in with a writing buddy, or a competition deadline. Too long a break can not only make starting again harder, but also risks your losing the ‘thread’ of your story; this can come across to the reader.
These are the methods I tend to use when feeling determined. For when you don’t want to fight so hard I’ll be putting together the next six steps next week.