Thursday, September 27, 2012

Procrastination Bug Bit Me - Now I'm Biting Back!

When writing was a hobby I could punch out anything at anytime - poems, short stories, long stories, anthologies, whatever.  But when I decided to take it on full-time, all of a sudden that stupid dung beetle (aka procrastination) writhed into my life and bit me.

He crawled on my keyboard, slithered on my outline, stole my notes and creeped his way into every conversation I had with my main characters.

I'd really like him to take a permanent vacation.

So I went searching for the Eradicator – something, anything to help me get rid of the pest.  I’ve jotted down a few of these tools in the hopes that maybe they can help you too, sweep that bug from your life.

Tool 1- Kitchen Timer -- am I writing or am I trolling the Internet?

Tool 2- Word Count -- do I have a word count goal or am I cleaning out the fridge today?

Tool 3- Page Count – how about a page count goal or is this organizing-the-office day?

Tool 4- Scenes -- do I want to finish one scene or two, or maybe I’d rather watch TV for more "research" ideas?

Tool 5- Time of Day -- do I write at the exact same time every single day or do I keep filling that space with essentials like alphabetizing my book collection?

Tool 6- Favorite Place -- do I write in the same place every day (well-lit, uncluttered and mine) or is it filled with bills, homework or other fun stuff?

For me, the best tool has been to create a habit that works.  Experts say two weeks of the same thing at the same time and you’ll have that habit down.  I’m on day 10 – wish me luck!

Do you have favorite techniques for staying on task and fulfilling the dream of a completed, well-edited, ready-to-go manuscript?  Please share!

The sketch is from my good friend Chris Watt, please see more of his illustrations at


  1. You continue to inspire me to get back to work on my novel! It just seems so tough to carve out the time right now. Perhaps I need to just pick a time of day and write for 30 minutes.

    Good post!

    1. Liz, it is so hard some days for me to sit down. But I've found if I just make it a habit first thing, then I do it. Another author I spoke to a couple of weeks ago said she has her laptop by her bed and as soon as she wakes up, she writes for two hours (starting at 5 am!). But she's made it a habit so it works for her. I'm not at the "writing at 5" spot yet but 9 am seems to work!

  2. Great ideas! It can be so hard to make yourself work when, well, you consider it work, can't it? Much easier when it's a guilty pleasure.
    One thing that works for me is having a word count buddy. We send each other quick emails every day, saying what we accomplished, word-count wise, and listing our goals for the next day. The next day we say how we did with our goals, and what we'll do the following day. It's a lot easier to pick a big word count goal when it's the night before the actual work gets done. Like how it's easier to pack a healthful lunch early in the morning, before work, than it is to eat well when you're browsing your fridge at noon and patting your growling stomach.

  3. Hi Caryn, Great idea!! Anytime I'm accountable to someone, it's much, much easier to reach goals. I should bring it up to my critique group also because right now the every other Friday deadline is motivating to get it down by week's end but not necessarily every day. Thanks! Jen