Monday, 1 July 2013

How I Tackle Procrastination as a Writer

Pain and Pleasure

Anthony Robbins says that people are motivated by pain and pleasure. We seek one and avoid the other. Our drive to avoid pain is generally stronger than our drive to gain pleasure.

I have been terrible in the past with procrastination. Facebook is one of the biggest culprits and I have found myself refreshing it so I get one newsfeed at a time. I know, it's sad, but anything to avoid the pain of writing. Now to call writing painful is more to use the pleasure/pain terminology. What I mean by pain is an expending of mental and emotional energy. Sometimes I find writing, or even just the process of it intimidating. 

To get out of the procrastination slump, what I do is find a greater pain that will result from me not doing the writing. For example, I'll be sat here in five years from now still refreshing Facebook or whichever social media site is prevalent at the time. I'll still be working twelve hour days still and trying to turn my passion into my career. It's quite a simple technique, but it works for me.


Timing Procrastination 

I have now decided that I will have my timer ready on my phone and start it when I start to procrastinate. I'll stop it when I've finished and add it up for a week. I reckon that seeing an amount of time that I've wasted and thinking about what I could have done in that time will help me become more disciplined. 

Surrounding Yourself With People That are Prolific

While I appreciate it may be hard to find prolific writers in your neighbourhood, we live in an age where there are so many ways of connecting with people that it's easy enough to find prolific authors. My favourite podcast at present is The Self Publishing Podcast Dave, Sean, and Johnny are releasing a book per week of serialised fiction and generating a huge catalog of work. Sean and Dave are making a full time profession from it and I believe Johnny is pretty much there too. I feel left behind when I listen to these guys and that's a great motivator. They also offer amazing self-publishing advice.

Writing retreats can also help inspire. To surround yourself with other writers and take yourself away from daily chores can be massively beneficial.

I am also a member of a writers' circle that I meet with on a monthly basis. I always walk away from our meeting energised. Maybe one day I'll feel brave enough to read my work out too.

I hope these tips help.

Thanks for reading.

Michael Robertson.

My debut novel Crash is available now

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