I hereby dub myself “Queen of the Procrastinators.” How do I procrastinate? Let me count the ways.
Instead of working on my WIP:
• Yesterday I baked bread.
• Today I cleaned my keyboard.
• And I'm writing this article.
• Once I even cleaned my stove!
• I go grocery shopping.
• I check e-mail.
• I have lunch.
• I do dishes.
And on and on…
I even took a class on procrastination once. No, not how to, but how to avoid doing it. I think I need to re-read my notes!
One thing the instructor recommended was to make an appointment with yourself. Every day from 9 to 10 a.m. (or whatever time you designate), I will write. Period. Nothing should interfere with this appointment. This is creating a habit, and most likely you will end up working longer, because you’ll find you’re on a roll.
Reward yourself for doing this. Even something that seems as silly as putting a sticker on your calendar each day that you write is a huge thing. I did this a few years ago and I found that if I had a day that interfered with my writing and I couldn’t put up a sticker, I was disappointed. I became determined to fill my calendar with stickers every day. (Except Sunday. It’s OK to give yourself permission to take a day off.)
Some writers set a daily word goal. Maybe the reward for that is to check e-mail AFTER you’ve accomplished this goal. Or to go for a walk (that results in a number of rewards, mentally and physically). Or meet someone for coffee.
How do you procrastinate? And how do you overcome it?
A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in Northwest Washington. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, has recently been released. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing and edits, blogs, and is working on the next books in her “Dare to Dream” series.