I have a riddle for you.
What is the definition of procrastination?Show Answer
[clickToTweet tweet=”Procrastination is easiest thing in world to do and hardest thing in the world to avoid. #amwriting” quote=”Procrastination is the easiest thing in the world to do and hardest thing in the world to avoid. “]
1. Block Off Time to Write
I am adamant that this is the most important element for someone that wants to be a serious writer. I’ve said it on Nothing Any Good before. If you want to take your writing seriously, than block off the time to write.
Unless you have no other responsibilities in life other than writing that next book, you can’t just wait around for moments of inspiration to strike. You have to set aside time to sit down and write. If you don’t, you’ll usually find a reason not to.
2. Write When It’s Time to Write
Once you’ve become disciplined enough to block off time to write, whether that’s everyday or a number of times a week, the next step is to actually write during that allotted time. In today’s media-at-our-fingertips-age, it’s so easy to become distracted by the latest reality show, or your friend’s pics of Paris, or that blog post about avoiding procrastination. (I know it’s bad business, but if you’re supposed to be writing right now, stop reading this damn article and go write! What are you doing?!)
In my own writing, I’ve found I have to write when I’ve blocked off time to for it. Sometimes the words feel stale and clunky. Other times sentences string together like poetic beauty. It doesn’t matter. When you’re supposed to be writing, just write. Worry about the quality during the editing process.
[clickToTweet tweet=”When you’re supposed to be writing, just write. Worry about quality during editing. #indieauthors” quote=”When you’re supposed to be writing, just write. Worry about the quality during the editing process. “]
3. Set Daily or Weekly Goals
A lot of writers I know set daily or weekly word goals. They decide they want to write 500 words each day, or 5000 words each week. That’s great. It doesn’t work well for me, but if it works for you, go for it.
However, there are other goals that work very well for me. Write one blog post today. Follow up on emails and social media items today. Contact my editor for feedback on a new chapter today. Sit down with the interview questions from that website today.
For indie writers, writing isn’t just about writing. There’s far more to it than putting those words on the paper. In order to manage it all, you need to set goals for what you want to accomplish this week.
Now that you’re setting goals, make sure you’re prioritizing the right goals. Maybe pinning 25 news posts to your Pinterest board today is high priority, but I doubt it. I suspect you’re probably putting off more important items to get that done.
The highest priority, of course, should almost always be to write. If you haven’t written anything, then marketing your yet-to-be-finished book is not exactly a high priority item. Learn to prioritize.
5. Better Manage Your Time
Maybe writing that next chapter is too difficult when your kids get home from school or when your husband is watching a show next to you on the couch. If that’s the case, let’s not block off that time for writing. Maybe consider putting your writing hours midday instead of in the evening.
For myself, I find it impossible to get quality work done if there’s a lot of commotion around me. I can do some mindless tasks–social media, looking in your direction–but I certainly can’t write or edit if there’s activity around me. Since this is the case, I’ve learned to block off time for those tasks when I know I will have a surrounding environment that will allow me to focus.
6. Take Time for Yourself
It seems obvious, but you would be surprised how often we don’t think about this. Remember to take time for yourself. If you love to run, go running. If you meditate or pray, set aside time for that. If you love to play an instrument, play.
You will be far, far, far more productive if you take the time to care for yourself. If the only question in front of you is, “Should I write at this very moment or should I take time for myself because I’m too stressed,” scientific research answers resoundingly that you should take time for yourself. It’s not even close.
In Arianna Huffinton’s book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, she presents overwhelming research on how the self-care will profoundly affect your productivity. “If you take care of your mind, you take care of the world,” Huffington writes.
I guess this brings us full circle. The 6th Tip for avoiding procrastination is, in fact, to procrastinate (if you’re taking care of yourself with that time).
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Keep writing away, friends! Keep at it and you’ll reach your goals! Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter, share on social media, and provide feedback below if you agree or disagree. I love to hear from you!
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Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.