Thursday, July 29, 2010

Procrastination is the dreadful diet for writers

“How does a project get to be a year behind schedule? One day at a time,” said Fred Brooks, software engineer and computer scientist. Does this sound familiar? I bet we all have been in this predicament whether we're writers, students, homemakers, or business people.

One of my readers asked me to write a blogpost on how to end the vicious circle of procrastination. So here are some tips that my mentor, poet and author Michael Mirolla gave me.
1. Set up a specific timeframe and schedule for doing things (writing, I'm assuming).
2. Set up a specific place for your writing.
3. Force yourself to sit down and write even if you don't think you have anything to say.
4. If you do find yourself blocked in the middle of a piece of writing, go to some other piece of writing or start something new.
5. Have all these elements in place for when the spirit moves you (that's one thing that you can't control as it can come on at any time).
6. If none of this works, then try breaking your routine completely: a walk, a movie, reading a book, listening to music -- whatever has inspired you in the past.

I'd like to add two more tips based on my personal experience:
1. Use writing prompts to warm up. The Writer's Digest has some good ones. Give yourself 10 to 15 minutes to write a short story. You'll be amazed at the newly-found energy/inspiration: one that'll last for at least three days.
2. Join a small writing group or create one yourself. Ask 3 or 4 people to join you once or twice a month for a writing day. This has helped me and my writing group to get us in writing mode.

I would love to hear your comments on finding a cure for procrastination.

In the meantime, enjoy this youtube video courtesy of Lev Yilmaz:  "Procrastination" Tales of Mere Existence


  1. I have to admit that procrastination is my biggest problem. I’m going to try some of those tips.

  2. Ha, ha, ha. Procrastination? I'm a master at it. And I''ve never found a cure.
    The advice I give to people is start to write something new, something totally different, something that excites you
    It's good advice, I think, but I find that I'd rather clean windows than sit and stare at a blank screen. :)

  3. Hi Lia,
    Thank you for stopping by and joining my blog. Let me know if you tried the tips and if they worked out for you.
    Good luck!

    Hi Shirley,
    Thanks for checking out my blog & for being my latest follower. You're right about writing something exciting to motivate you. However, everyone deals with procrastination in different ways. But I think we procrastinate depending on our moods, lifestyles, and circumstances.

  4. These are very good tips - I use them all, especially the first 3. Rather than "force" myself to sit and write, however, I trick myself. Start by writing a shopping list or a note to a friend or a journal entry. Of course, these too can be procrastination methods, ways to put off serious writing; but they can start the flow of words. When all else fails, edit!

  5. Hi Marty,
    Thank you for stopping by. You may have a point when you say that writing a shopping list or a note to a friend could be procrastination methods ;) but hey, it is still writing so it works for me. By the way, did you get a chance to watch the youtube video I added at the end? I think it's funny because it's so true. ;)

  6. Hi Jack,
    LOL! I was laughing because I was looking for your posted comment and I later realized you clicked on the wrong post. You left the message under "Summer Writing Contest". Don't worry, you're not the first one to do it. Anyhow, I'm happy to hear you found the video to be funny. I, too, was laughing when I saw it. Thank you for your kind words regarding my blog. I hope you keep dropping by. If you have any suggestions for my future posts, please do tell. I welcome ideas/suggestions from my readers.
    Talk to you soon, Jack.

  7. this are a good tips. ill tell my friend about this since she also has this procrastination problem.

  8. Hi Eric,
    Thanks for dropping by and spreading the word about my blog. I'm glad you find my tips helpful.
    Come by anytime!