Several of you have probably noticed by now that I haven’t had any writing articles up for a while. There’s actually a reason for that. One of the main reasons is that I feel that asexuality and aromanticism should have more visibility and I didn’t feel I was doing a suitable job in representing those aspects of my life.
The second reason is one that is a fairly common writer’s complaint. Procrastination.
I’ve finished my outline for Chasing the Dragon and I’m 100% not writing it…yet.
With that in mind, I’d like to talk a bit about procrastination in writing, as well as give some tips to overcome it.
Work on Something Different
Sometimes if you procrastinate, it’s because there’s something wrong with your idea. Either there’s a specific problem or the creative juices haven’t quite congealed to make your story what you want it to be. That’s okay.
Instead of hitting your head against the wall of manuscript, change your focus. This could be in the form of short stories(particularly ones that relate to the work you’re avoiding) or blog posts, or even writing down cooking recipes. The point is to keep working and typing.
The best thing to do, if you still can’t get into your current project after a week or two, is to admit that you’re procrastinating under the guise of being productive. For those keeping track, this is exactly what I’m doing right now.
Brainstorm the Problem and Make a Decision
You can do anything for 5 minutes. If you’re still procrastinating(like me), then grab a sheet of paper and discuss what’s wrong. I’ve noticed that when I delay doing something, it’s because there’s something I perceive as being unpleasant about the task ahead of me.
In the case of Chasing the Dragon, my procrastination stems from the fact that I have no idea how to worldbuild and I’m worried that it won’t be a strong novel because of it—or that I’ll have to edit my manuscript within an inch of its life when I’m done.
Once you know your problem, make a decision about it and stick to it. I’ve decided that, worldbuilding or no, I’m going to start working on my manuscript during CampNaNoWriMo in July. Until then, I’ll be doing research on worldbuilding, polishing my skills, and trying to increase my word count per day so I can reach 50k.
Take the Pressure Off
Sometimes a project seems so cool and amazing that you freeze yourself out. You think that there’s no way that you can create this awesome piece of literature.
You’re probably right, especially if you’re a beginner.
In the case of Chasing the Dragon, I’ve been hyping it up to myself as being my first ‘real’ novel. That’s a lot of pressure and it has me frozen because there’s no way it’s going to be as good as I want it to be.
About the only solution for this one is to tell yourself that it’s going to be okay and that regardless of what happens with this work, it’ll be okay. There’s always next time. Practice breeds perfection, or something that doesn’t make you cry.
Devote Some More Time to It
I love the planning stage. For me, planning this and that is a ton of fun. Writing it down? Ehhh, not so much. That’s one reason why I always have to expand on my drafts. However, one thing I’m noticing with this current work is that I don’t feel like I have time for the draft.
I’ve done outlining and planning so much that I’m really quick at it. An hour or two and I’m done and don’t have to think about writing. Drafting? I’m not so quick at it, though I’m not bad at drafting nonfiction. With fiction drafting, I’m happy to make 1,000 words an hour, which I feel is horribly slow.
So, I don’t do it. I start to procrastinate because slow progress doesn’t seem like it’s worth the hassle after planning. Because I can write 4 blog posts in the same amount of time that I write two pages of fiction.
The only solution to this is to devote more time to your work. Tell yourself that either you’ll make slow progress or give up enough time to make ‘acceptable’ progress.
5. Do It Anyway
Last, but not least, sometimes procrastination is simply procrastination. Sometimes, you just have to plant your butt in the chair, turn off your internet, jot down one sentence notes of that amazing blog article, and get to work. It’s not fun, it’s not happy, but you do get a lot more work done that way.
What about you? How do you deal with procrastination?