Breaking Procrastination

As much as we all love to write, sometimes it’s impossible to get us to write.  It doesn’t even make sense; if we love it so much, why do we avoid it?  Writers notoriously hate to write.  We put it off until the last possible moment and then when we sit down, we stare at the blank page like it’s our enemy: you made me do this.  Then we dirty it up with a lot of really bad work.  This is why writers hate to write.

We’re afraid that what we write isn’t going to be any good.  We’re afraid we won’t live up to our own potential.  When we start writing, it will most likely suck.  That’s okay.  Know that every writer feels that way about his own work at first.  It will get better.  The key is to write without judgement, without criticism.  Tell yourself it’s okay to suck.  Just get it down.  Then go back to it and make it better.   You could even use this fear of not living up to your own potential as motivation to challenge yourself.  If what you’ve written doesn’t measure up to your standard, how could you improve on it?  If you were (insert favourite writer here) what would you do?  Play with it.

It helps too to share your frustrations with another writer because they’ll understand what you’re going through.  They’re probably going through the very same thing.  You can motivate one another simply by declaring your intent to write.  We tell ourselves that we’re alone in this, that no other writer has ever had trouble writing, so this must mean we’re a terrible writer.  Maybe it’s not that extreme, but we do feel like we’re alone with our suffering.  It is painful to be mentally constipated.  When we realize we’re not alone, it frees us up to let our words out.

Sometimes we simply associate writing with work so when we sit down, it’s not fun anymore.  Change your location to one that gives you pleasure.  Find the fun and the joy in writing.  Change the time of day.  Maybe you can’t write because you really should do it first thing in the morning when there are no distractions. Use a pen and paper instead of the computer.  Go for a quick walk for fresh air and invigorate your brain.  Buy a nice notebook to jot your ideas in.  I sometimes need to change the font or the kind of pen I use because some flow better than others.  Whatever you need to make writing fun again.

Figure out what’s blocking you and do something to get rid of it, but in the end, you simply have to sit down and write.  You know you can do it; you’ve done it before.  You’re a great writer and you know it, all you need to do is get your words on the page so you can show the world.  So get to it!