Procrastination and Writers

I have an editorial ghosting assignment. I’ve known the client for years. She has a great story, but English isn’t her first language. I’m trying to take her thoughts and rewrite them so they’re not only readable but compelling. So why am I procrastinating?
Writing Tip for Today: Every writer procrastinates at one time or another. Perhaps it’s a contest entry and you get so nervous that it keeps you from writing. Or maybe it’s something you must write for pay to support your fiction “habit.” Maybe you’re kind of stuck right now. Whatever the reason, procrastination keeps us chasing dust bunnies or clicking through email instead of producing the writing we know we need to get finished. How about some ideas for beating Old Man Procrastination?

  • Take Baby Steps. It may be too late for your current project, but next time, slice what seems like an overwhelming task into smaller chunks. Then set a daily word count goal.
  • Hold out a Carrot. Promise yourself a reward once you get your daily assignment finished. That carrot may be to write what you love.
  • Join the Crowd. It may help to know that most writers can’t support themselves writing fiction or the stuff they love most. In fact, most have that day job. Many writers (including me) hold down one or more part-time jobs teaching writing, plus editorial and mentor students.
  • Reevaluate Your Work Load. Do you take every assignment that comes your way? Maybe you’re stalling because you can’t say no. If so, make it a policy to be a little more discriminating.
  • Don’t Forget Happy Accidents. Finally, remember that while you may be writing something just for the money, you never know what kind of serendipity will occur up the road. I once got an assignment that I loved after an editor read something I wrote just for the dough.

Try This! When you are dragging your heels, how do you deal with procrastination?

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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