Often, the hardest part of writing is actually sitting down and making time to write. As writers, we spend our time daydreaming stories, jotting down characters, taking notes of interesting names or captivating descriptions “for future reference.” However, once we sit down to write, we often find ourselves too distracted to get any work done. With that in mind, here are five ways to quit procrastinating and simply write:
1. Turn off your phone.
Your cellphone can be a major source of distraction and procrastination. What might start off as “one more text” can easily turn into an hour of returning calls and responding to emails. If you are worried about missing important calls and don’t want to physically shut your cellphone down, make a point of texting your friends beforehand to let them know not to bother you for a set amount of time unless there is an emergency.
2. Disconnect your Internet.
Like the cellphone, the Internet is an easy distraction, especially if you write on your computer. If you trust yourself to turn your Wifi off and keep it off, that may be a viable option. However, if you know the Internet is just too tempting, find a way to write somewhere away from your computer. Pick up a notepad. Take your computer someplace you do not have Internet access. Ask for a typewriter for Christmas. Give yourself permission to unplug from extra distractions; they will still be there when you finish writing.
3. Give yourself a prompt.
One of the most popular procrastination excuses among writers is that they simply, “don’t feel inspired.” If you can’t find your muse for your current project, don’t let that stop you from writing. Give yourself a prompt and write something new. For fiction, put your characters in a new situation, something they wouldn’t normally experience. For nonfiction writers, read or listen to something that counters or even criticizes your position. This may not only give you more points to write about, but it will ignite your desire to prove your point(s) in writing. Finally, you can write in a another style to challenge yourself and test the outcome. You might surprise yourself by what you come up with. For instance, you can try to write something funny or clever rather than sticking to serious prose.
4. Write with a friend.
Writing is, by nature, sometimes an isolating experience. Occasionally, it’s nice to switch things up by writing with a friend. Pick a friend who enjoys writing as much as you do and challenge each other to write. Set a word count and race to the finish. Bounce ideas off one another. Give each other prompts. For an extra confidence boost, share your writing with one another when you’re finished and give each other positive, constructive feedback.
5. Turn off the self-defeating messages inside your head.
Of course, the worst procrastination demon of all is that of self-defeat. Like any other artists, writers can sometimes feel overwhelmed and insecure about their work or ability. With that said, you can’t let your own anxieties stop you from finishing your project. Remember: you will never become a better writer by simply wishing you were one; the only way to improve is to write more and read good material.
With these five tips, you should be able to complete your writing project in no time! If you need help writing or rewriting, you can find excellent tips on our blog, or you can contact our editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.