Note that I’m not calling this “writer’s block” I prefer to label this slack-jawed sensation of dread procrastination. It’s a monster that can pop up at any stage of your writing career. Some days you hop online to check one thing – you swear – yet two hours later you’ve learned how to re-enamel a cast iron bathtub and how long a dead body can bleed for yet haven’t moved one inch closer to finishing your book. What to do? Try these ten painless tricks:

  1. Turn off Wi-Fi. Do your research later. Note down on a piece of paper what you want to check and do it later. Googling is not writing.
  2. Clear your space. Dump the contents of your desk drawers elsewhere… clear the dining table… set up in a café where your personal junk isn’t staring you in the face. Seriously, hide your agenda even, or else you’ll find other “essential” tasks to do like make that dentist appointment and book that hair appointment… and, well… that’s not writing.
  3. Ignore your outline, book proposal, previously written chapters and write a totally new chapter. Sometimes we’ve outlined ourselves into a tiny corner surrounded by wet paint and need to levitate to some other area of the story and go from there. Obsessing over your outline is not writing.
  4. Meditate. Visualize yourself as a wildly affluent author, acclaimed public speaker, rocking literary idol to adoring superfans, award winning, NY Times bestselling, all singing-all-dancing SUCCESS. Just do it. Nobody is looking inside your brain at that image. Go beyond your dreams and visualize the biggest and best for yourself. It helps gets words on the page if your subconscious thinks you’ll be massively famous for it one day.
  5. Write for five minutes. Say to yourself: “I’ll just do five minutes…” get going and after those five minutes you will want to continue.
  6. Get one of those apps that make horrible noises when you don’t type fast enough. Such as www.writeordie.com. Might work for you, might not. Try before you shell out hard-earned cash for something that screeches at you.
  7. Ring your mom. Get some emotional support or relive that dysfunction that drew you to writing in the first place. But use an egg timer so you’re off the phone within a 5-minute pep talk time.
  8. Tell everyone on Facebook your writing goal. This is a deadline-setting manoeuvre that holds you accountable – as much as Facebook holds anyone accountable.
  9. Set up a pre-order release date. I’ve actually done this. If you’re not indie publishing, try to set a similar unshiftable deadline in the traditional publishing world, such as locking in a delivery date with your publishing editor. It works wonders for getting your latest book ready when you just won’t let go of the words. By setting a pre-order date, you must upload your converted, finished file by that date or you’ll be unable to set up a pre-order release with KDP for one year.
  10. Get a writing coach. Being held accountable works wonders and hearing constant encouragement punctuated with a little tough love forces you to prioritize. Shelling out money to help you write means you want to get your money’s worth. But the first question you answer with your coach’s help is: Why am I dragging my heels on this book? because trust me, there is something inside you blocking you on it. When we love the book we’re writing we’re excited to get back to it. But when other people or something in us naysays it, then we slide into putting it off for another day… Get what’s making you feel blah out in the open so you can deflate it with virtual hugs.

Now, turn off your internet connection and write for five minutes……….. (and then contact me via my Contact page to talk about coaching or editing your wonderful words!)

4 thoughts on “10 Simple Tips to Beat Writers’ Procrastination

  1. Yes the “clear your space” one usually works for me. I’ve found I can re-start if I go out for a walk (blow out the cobwebs) and arrive at a café, and try again with pen and paper instead of keyboard and electrons.

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