This article was originally published on BookDaily.com
Nice catchy title, and oh so true in my case. (Case in point – me writing this blog post is a good example – I should be finishing The Station).
I also have a horrible habit of going off topic, (yet another symptom of procrastination), so I’ll try my hardest not to do this too much.
Let’s get straight to the point here. Writers generally drop into procrastination mode when either of the following conditions occurs:
1) Coming up to the point in their story where there is a difficult scene to plot out and write.
2) Characters write themselves into a situation that the author does not know how to get them out of
3) Your Manuscript is in the editing stages of the second and third drafts (and everyone definitely wants to avoid that)
4) Any other situation that a writer can find themselves in that makes doing the dishes right at that very moment a high priority task.
Now, this blog post is supposed to be about story avoidance. That means, whenever any of the above conditions occur, you must immediately go and find something as far away from the object of avoidance as possible.
Avoidance strategies can be either very simple or extremely extravagant. Strategies that I use regularly are:
1) House cleaning – it does help getting your mind off the hurdles in your writing and then gives you time to look at things from a fresh perspective and can actually be helpful in the long run.
2) Baking – This does the same thing as house cleaning except you get cakes, biscuits and cookies at the end of it.
3) Research – This can be anything ranging from historical to scientific or basically fact finding in general. This again can be helpful in both finding plots and ideas for future stories, or for finding examples that can get you out of your writing quandary.
4) Taking the family on a day trip – This also does the same thing as house cleaning, except that you also get exposure to daylight and spend quality time with your family.
5) Television – Um, television really is the procrastinators’ friend. I never get anything useful done when the TV is on. Unless I’m watching something in connection with point 3.
6) Internet – Same point as Television. It is an incredible tool for procrastination. But it can also help overcome your issues by going to relevant blogs, websites, and friendly communities that might help you by discussing issues or reviewing the piece of work or idea that is troubling you. There are many of these writing communities around; it’s just a matter of finding one that suits you and your genre. Also be aware when trying to find a writing community that there is a difference between constructive criticism and being downright mean.
I could make this list a lot larger, but I think I have procrastinated long enough. I hope that I have given some good tips to successful procrastination methods and I would love to hear what works well for you and what doesn’t.