For Writers (And Everyone Else): 12 Tips on Overcoming Procrastination
These are from my notes on writing and are pulled from a bunch of books I read last summer. While the focus is how to overcome procrastination in writing, these principles can easily be adapted to be applicable for anyone, in about any context:
- “Almost all writers procrastinate.”
- Turn it into rehearsal.
- Lower your standards. Writers block is a product of some kind of disproportion between your standards and your performance. Get rid of the standards that inhibit you, write, then raise your standards during revision.
- Just start typing.
- Adopt a daily routine. “Fluent writers prefer mornings.”
- Draft sooner. Avoid over research, which makes writing seem tougher. Write earlier in the process so you discover the information you need.
- Discount nothing.
- Limit self criticism in early drafts.
- Set the table (= pull everything together and get things ready; make short plan).
- Find a helper.
- Keep a daily record of accomplishment.
When you Get Stuck
- Just start writing. “Writing is the means to achieving the clarity of what you should write.”
- It’s OK if you just produce a few pages a day for the first several weeks. Things will snowball if you get momentum.