10 Writing Tips in 5 Days: Day 5 – No More Excuses

Tip #10: Get Back to Work

The word procrastination brings to mind Big Bang Theory reruns and Facebook updates and online shopping and suddenly needing to reorganize the spice cabinet. But these are just the gumballs in a whole candy store of procrastination techniques.

Procrastination can be anything. Anything that keeps you from writing what you’re supposed to be writing.

It can look like this:

Some distractions are ADORABLE.

Some distractions are ADORABLE.

Or this:

I'm really looking forward to Geektastic.

I’m really looking forward to Geektastic.

Or even this:

 

Sample Query Chart

It’s true. The sneakiest methods of procrastination are the ones that look like work. For instance, spending all day reading writing advice is a form of procrastination. Even taking that writing advice can be a form of procrastination.

Let’s take a look back at this week’s tips.

  • Start Small, But Dream Big – Submitting stories and poems to publications can be very rewarding, but don’t let those smaller goals keep you away from your bigger projects too long. And dreaming big can be a great motivator, but probably no more than ten minutes a day should be spent practicing an acceptance speech or listing the ways you’ll spend your millions.
  • Join the Club – Get out there and meet other writers! Join groups and attend festivals and conferences! But if you spend all your time talking about writing, when are you going to write? There’s no point in going to critique groups if you never have anything to share.
  • Get Yourselves Organized – Organization is one of my strong suits. I can make a to-do list with the best of them and my Excel files are excel-lent. But there’s a fine line between organized and OCD and I walk it on a daily basis. Once you’ve got your weekly schedule done and your submission chart made, put them away. Stop playing with the font sizes and perfecting the distance between sticky notes. Walk away. You can do it.
  • The Reluctant Reviser – What? No. Surely not this one too? Yep. Sometimes even revising can be an evil ploy to keep you away from the task at hand. Does chapter 17 really still need that much work? Or are you just avoiding chapter 18 because you know it’s going to be tough to write? Do you really need to read that book about Victorian etiquette right now? Or are you just using research to stall because outlining scares you? Think about it.

Even when we stop to revise, even when we pause to reflect, even when we take a break with one project, somewhere in some area, we must always be moving forward with our writing. To be a writer, you have to write. Everyone says it, and though we may not like hearing it sometimes, it’s true.

Even writing can be a form of procrastination if it’s not the writing you’re supposed to be doing. This week’s blog posts have been fun for me, and I hope some of you have found them useful, but they’ve also kept me away from my other projects, and it’s time for me to go back.

Today, I’ll keep things short, so that you have one less excuse to keep you from your writing. Let’s get back to work. All of us.

Bonus Links:

  • 750 Words – This is a great tool for helping you get words onto the page. I’ve produced many a paragraph during their monthly challenges.
  • 5 Ways to Silence Your Inner Editor – A.B. Davis has some good, concise tips for getting you back into work mode.

 

 

6 comments

  1. Well, at least I can say that it feels good to know I am not the only one to partake in these very important distractions from the writing process, cats and all ;-) In my case, I believe that procrastination goes hand in hand with perfectionism, but I am getting am better at breaking this union. These are wonderful insights, some which I did not even realize were distracting me from the thing that lights a fire inside me the most, writing. Thanks for sharing and best wishes for an inspired day ;-)

    1. Thanks Dave! I’m so glad to hear you found this week’s posts useful. I definitely use perfectionism as a form of procrastinations too, whether it’s organizing my desk before I get to work or perfecting the last sentence I wrote before I move on to the next one. It’s a hard habit to break, but when I am able to move forward and accomplish something new, it feels good. Good luck with all your distractions! :)

  2. Carie, you are so bad! You just had to include a link to Key and Peele, didn’t you? Oh, I found it, I found it. Yes, procrastination rules!

    1. Huh? Key and Peele? Hmm…Maybe that was an ad from WordPress that you saw? (For some reason their ads don’t show up on the version I see.) If it was, that was mean of them! Here I am writing a post telling people to get back to work and WordPress is showing them comedy clips. Evil! :)

  3. What a perfect close to your series of writing tips–telling everyone to stop messing around on WordPress and WRITE ;) Love your pics and recap. Thank you for the pingback too! I will be returning the favor as soon as I determine what post a link to yours would best fit within.

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