Published on 26th March, 2018

How to Stop Procrastinating (and get to work faster!)

No matter how talented you are as a writer, procrastination has the potential to bring your writing career crashing down. We all face procrastination because, dare I say, it’s a normal part of the writing process once in a while.

But if you find yourself giving in to the urge to push writing aside on the regular, it’s going to affect your productivity and your confidence. Whether you’re facing school assignments, client work, or your own creative project, don’t let procrastination stand in your way.

Set Daily Goals for Yourself

Start each morning by setting a few goals for the day, and the trick is to go with goals that are achievable. Keeping your tasks within reach allows you to finish each one with pride and gain momentum every time you reach a goal. I love the power of to-do lists; every time I cross something off my list, I feel like a superhero and the desire to procrastinate disappears.

Create a Schedule that Works for You

Every writer is different, so go ahead and experiment with different writing schedules and routines to find what works for you. Perhaps you find it easier to write as soon as you wake up, before doing anything else. Or maybe you’re a night owl who writes the most at 10pm. You might even do your best writing when you break it up into 15-minute sessions throughout the day. Lean into your natural writing routine and stick with it, even if it’s a little unconventional.

Warm Up with a Freewrite

If you were an Olympic figure skater, you wouldn’t dare to start your performance without warming up first, right? Think about writing the same way; you need to warm up your brain! Open up a blank document or get a fresh piece of paper, and without thinking about what you’re writing, jot down whatever comes to mind. After ten minutes of mindless freewriting, your brain is warmed up and ready to work.

Turn the Distractions Off

While the internet is amazing for doing your research, it’s also an absolute killer of productivity. If you struggle with procrastination, try turning all the possible distractions off. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode. Turn your computer’s Wi-Fi off. Need a connection because you’re writing in the cloud or have to do a little research along the way? Try an app like SelfControl or ColdTurkey that will block specific websites for you.

Remind Yourself that First Drafts Are Never Perfect

Sometimes I find it difficult to start writing because I have high expectations for my writing. I want my writing to be perfect the first time it hits the page and that just sets me up for disappointment. Remind yourself that first drafts are never perfect. It’s okay to write broken sentences and ideas that don’t really connect to one another yet. You’ll fix all of that when it comes time to edit. For now, take the pressure off yourself and just get the first draft done!

When you’re having a stand-off with procrastination, I know everything else sounds better than writing - browsing the internet, watching Netflix, even cleaning your house. But I promise you’ll always feel better after you’ve put the work in and put procrastination behind you.

Robyn Petrik is a freelance writer from Vancouver, Canada, and specializes in writing blog posts and social media content for creative small businesses. Along with writing, she also spends time painting on her iPad, reading, hiking, and eating too much peanut butter. You can learn more about Robyn at robynpetrik.com and connect with her on Twitter.

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