Ten Tips to Stop Procrastination & Start Writing
Jun 21, 2021
Why is it when I think of writing, I also think of all the other things I have to do around the house. Is it only me or do you put off your writing? I heard a comment recently that 'writers have very clean bathtubs' and I realised I played the procrastination game too. While my bathtub may not be sparkling, I have to ask myself – why do I put off something I love to do.
We all have fears! Fear of failure, fear of what other people may think, fear of rejection and possibly even fear of success. Fear comes from our conditioning and what we believe about ourself. If we are procrastinating because of fear of failure, we can mentally turn the word mistake around and use the word outcome for whatever we want to do. This takes the pressure off to be perfect from the start and to think we need to have a first draft fit for the Miles Franklin Award.
When my children come to me with a problem I tell them, ‘Find a solution, there’s no such thing as a mistake, find another way.’ You can apply this idea to your writing. Kate Grenville said that ‘Writing is rewriting’ and the process of writing takes time and effort. When I think of the great classic writers, their first books were not as good as their later works, so don’t be hard on yourself, just start and realise learning and writing is a process.
I have been working on my old conditioning through various personal development courses and study. From my experience I have found it helpful to consider these 3 things to help you overcome fear and procrastination:
- Awareness – Why do you want to write? What is your motivation? What is stopping you and what do you need to do in order to write. Really think about these questions and be honest with yourself.
- Courage – Writing is like running down the street naked. You bare your soul…and this can be a frightening thought but being authentic and writing about what you are most passionate about allows the reader to identify with you, keep turning the page and buy more of your books.
- Knowledge – I believe education is everything. It doesn't mean you have to have a Master's degree in writing but you need to learn the art and craft of writing. You need to learn everything you can about the genre you want to write in and develop your skills through the practise of reading and writing.
Then of course you have to take ACTION…
10 Tips to help you overcome fear, stop procrastinating and start writing
- Make a clear decision about what it is you want to write or achieve and write it on something that you will see and read daily. Procrastination is the opposite to decision, so when you really make the decision to do something, nothing should stop you, not even fear.
- Journal daily about what you want and what you think is stopping your from achieving your goals. When you analyse your fears you will see that they are often based on negative emotions and old conditioning that you can change through personal development
- What are your goals for the book you want to write? Where do you want to be in 1 month, 3 and 6 months, a year or 5 years? Think about it and write it down and stick it where you see it daily!
- Write a list of action steps that you need to take in order to write your book or achieve your goals
- Do one thing a day on your list to achieve your goals, it might be a word count of 1000 words a day
- Talk to someone and get advice to help you with your writing
- Knowledge is key, research your genre, take a course and learn the skills you need so you won’t feel fear of the unknown
- Mix with like-minded people in writing groups or on-line to share your outcomes and triumphs and gain confidence
- Believe in yourself and never give up on your dreams
- Ask someone else to clean the bathtub!
I'm keen to know how many other writers out there have very clean bathtubs and what your thoughts are on fear and procrastination when it comes to writing.
All the best
PS If you want some help to start writing, check out my Module 1 Getting Started - A Holistic Approach to Start Writing