...what was I talking about?
|OH LOOK LEGOS LET'S GO PLAY WITH THEM FOR FIVE HOURS|
*actually procrastinated for an embarrassing amount of time while "trying to find a cover picture" for this post*
Do you struggle with sudden bouts of opera singing? Do you grapple with the ever present pull of Pinterest, or the jaws of Tumblr? (I don't actually have a tumblr but I hear it's highly addictive.) Do you find your concentration and determination slipping at the sight of a good book, your will power crumbling at the faintest whiff of fresh coffee being brewed, which reminds you that you need to go and get a mug of it before it gets cold and-oh look, the piano. You really need to practice ... and oh look, a flower. Let's go outside and frolic in the green for a couple of hours and ponder the deep questions of life and existence and humanity.
Procrastination is a problem for ... dare I say everyone? Let's be safe and say most people - cause everyone is different and some strange beans out there might have the ability to stay on track always because they have lots of self control which I don't understand but THAT'S AWESOME and I'm jelly. A jelly dohnut.
And these, ladies and gentlemen, are what my thought trains look like.
Now that you've read a very procrastination-y intro, I will deliver to you my usual prime quality and top notch blog post, this one on procrastination.
*snaps into productivity mode*
There are ways you can fight procrastination, and it might not be as hard as you think. The first one I've already given to you.
#1: Choose to be productive.
This is very important. If you want to get stuff done, you have to sit down and say, "I'm going to get stuff done today." I don't know about you, but it's very easy for me to get distracted. I could spend an hour staring at the wall or sprawled out on the floor staring at the ceiling and thinking. My thoughts are so loud, I am deceived into thinking that I'm actually doing something or talking to someone, when really I'm just sitting there. Staring. And doing absolutely nothing.
But if I've told myself, "Alright, Hannah. You're going to sit here and write this blog post." Then part of my mind clings to that task. When I do get distracted looking for a cover photo and trailing off to look at possible cover pictures for my third book, that part of my brain tugs me back and says, "Remember, you're supposed to be writing a blog post. And you want to edit tonight too, and you have to go to bed at a sane hour so you really need to get this done."
It's much easier to stay on task when that little voice is in there reminding you. But that voice will only come if you put it there in the first place, by thinking through what you want to accomplish.
Otherwise, what do you have to get distracted from?
#2: Put your distractions away.
You can't get distracted by what you don't have. If it's something online, put your phone on airplane mode or turn your wi-fi off. If you have your music online, then just close the browser. To keep me on track one time, I pulled up a picture of a scary looking Gandalf captioned, YOU SHOULD BE WRITING. WHY ARE YOU NOT WRITING. so that every time I pulled up Pinterest I saw that instead of enticing pictures of pretty pathways and intriguing settings.
But don't deny yourself of procrastination completely. Instead,
#3: Give yourself rewards.
If you sat down to write a chapter, and you write a chapter with lots of spare time, reward yourself. Don't say, "Oh well now I can write A WHOLE OTHER CHAPTER LET'S DO IT." That'll just wear you out. Instead, let yourself get on Pinterest for a bit. Set a timer so it stays a reward and doesn't turn into procrastination.
#4: Know what you're doing.
Right now, I'm writing this post. But I'm also hiding from my WIP cause I'm not sure what's going to happen. Rather than keep hiding, however, I will sit down after I'm done here and get my notebook and think things through and write it out. I get so much done when I know where I'm going with the scene and what needs to happen to get there.
But there's a flipside to this one.
#5: Give up perfection.
Say you don't know how the scene is going to go. Yes, that's going to make it harder, but that doesn't mean you should just pout and go burn eight hours on Pinterest. Write anyway. It doesn't have to be perfect. It can't be perfect. It can only be really, really good, and that comes after a lot of drafts when you probably won't be having this particular issue anyway.
Just write it out.
#6: Know yourself.
Every bean is different. Thus, every bean has different weaknesses and strengths. Find your weaknesses so you can be wary of them, and work on them. And find your strengths so you can take advantage of them.
If procrastination is something you struggle with, find different ways to treat yourself. Ways that work best for you. Writing is such a deeply personal thing. Find your groove, your style. Find yourself in what you love to do, and strengthen it.
I hope this gave you some ideas for how to beat the procrastination bug. Further prescriptions to various diagnoses may come in the future, but due to the spontaneity of the writer, they cannot be promised. You might get a post on Holding onto Your Story next week, or you might get a post about wombats.
Do you struggle with staying on the task at hand? What are some tricks/tips you've learned that help?