Writing and Publishing

How to Avoid the Poison of Procrastination

Procrastination is a serious problem for writers and when taken to excess, it can be fatal to the craft. Procrastination can manifest itself in many different ways, but the result is the same: writing is deferred.

When it is time to write:

  • Does the sink of dirty dishes or unmowed lawn suddenly seem more important?
  • Is there an inescapable call to check email, your favorite blog, or Facebook?
  • Do you convince yourself that you’re not in the right frame of mind?
  • Do you notice the accumulation of dust on your computer and have a sudden urge to deal with it?
  • Is the lack of an idea or inspiration enough to defer action?
  • Do you “ease” into it by playing solitaire or watching the game first?
  • Do you put if off because you have writer’s block or want to wait until you are inspired?

These are all forms of procrastination. In your writing career, you have likely experienced one or more of them. Perhaps one is your current nemesis. (Are you reading this blog when you should be writing?)

While a dogged self-discipline to preserver is one sure prescription to procrastination, it may be helpful to explore the underlying impetus:

  • Do you have a lack of self-confidence in your ability to write?
  • Are you bored with your subject or assignment?
  • Do you fear the rejection of your work once it is complete?
  • Are you not fully committed to being a writer? (For example, is it more fun to say you are a writer, then to actually write?)
  • Also, know that a common side-effect of perfectionism is procrastination

Whatever the distraction or the cause, know that to be a writer, you must write—even if you don’t feel like it.

Don’t delay, do it today!

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.

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