Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Quit Procrastinating—Instead Sit in the Chair and WRITE—8 Tips to Keep You Moving




by Edie Melson


Sitting around with other writers, discussing all things literary is one of my favorite things. It’s one of the reasons I love attending writing conferences.

But there are people we know who like talking about writing so much that’s all they do. They join writers groups, critique groups, even take classes.
The one thing they don’t do is write.


Unfortunately, this problem of avoidance can happen to any of us.

Writing is hard work.  Avoiding it is often easier than just sitting in the chair and banging out words. There comes a time though, when we have to just quit procrastinating, sit in the chair and write.

Today I’m going to share some things I do when I’m tempted to do anything but write. 
Be creative when you set goals.
  • Set a goal. I play games with my goals. Sometimes I’ll set a time goal—I’m going to write for an hour—no matter what. Sometimes I’ll set a word count goal—I’m not going to get up until I’ve written 1000 words.
  • Set a reward. I try to avoid food related goals, but truthfully, nothing helps the words flow like the promise of chocolate.
  • Break it into manageable pieces. Don’t tackle a hard goal all at once. Break it into small manageable bits. This will help you see the progress.
  • Turn on the music. For me, music (instrumental—no words) helps me get in the groove.
  • Change the scenery. When I hit a wall, it helps to go around it—literally. If I’m in my office, I may move to the dining room or even the back porch.
  • Turn off the Internet. Or at least log off your social media. It’s tempting to ask for support or commiseration on Facebook, but it can lead to conversation. And the only words you need are the ones that show up on the page.
Me, Mary Denman, and Reba Hoffman
cheering each other on.
  • Schedule a Write-in. Get a friend or two and hold each other accountable. If you can’t meet in person, get together online, through Skype or a Google Hangout.
  • Throw up on the page. NO, not literally. But I’ve found that sometimes I have to write junk before I can get to the good stuff. So go ahead and write crap, get it out of the way and keep going. Chances are there is something useable in it.

Now I’d like to hear from you. What tricks have you found to keep yourself in the chair banging out words?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,

Edie

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16 comments:

  1. I'm having trouble with this right now. As a SOTP writer, I've discovered that it means I need to 1) pray about my next chapter. 2) Percolate more. It sounds dumb, but once I get past the roadblock, I can write. (This isn't the same as writer's block. It's more like the idea isn't properly formulated yet.)

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    1. Susan, those are great tips! And you're so right, there's a difference between an idea that isn't properly formulated and writer's block. Thanks so much for sharing! Blessings, E

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  2. Gee whiz, Edie. Do you have some sort of hidden camera in my house to know what I've been doing? It's gotten better lately, thanks to a writers group that meets every 2 weeks, but it's still a challenge. Thanks for the tips.

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    1. Ellen, I think maybe we're just struggling with the same thing! I promise, no snooping was involved. Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

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  3. I remind myself that if I don't keep writing, I could just go back to my day job. That scares me enough to keep me in the chair and writing. I like using rewards, too. One of my favorites is for every 10,000 words I get a massage. Nothing like a spa morning to keep me working. Thanks Edie for the post.

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    1. Gail, I LOVE that reward! I'm totally going to use it. Thank you so much for sharing! Blessings, E

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  4. Sometimes I free write which is a lot like throwing up on the page. :) I'm a plotter so It helps if I have my roadmap in good order. As you mentioned, it helps to break it down into manageable pieces. I like to take it one scene at a time. Scrivener has been a true blessing in that regard. I can't say enough good things about that program. Great post, Edie.

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    1. Cindy, I LOVE Scrivener! thanks so much for stopping by, Blessings, E

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  5. I know a lot of people who want to "have" written. You are right. Writing is hard. We need to borrow Nike's slogan. Just. Do.It.

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    1. Pat, at times I want to "have" written! LOL! And then there are the days where I just write through the tears of frustration. Thanks so much for dropping in, Blessings, E

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  6. So true, and just recently, I was chatting with a friend about the way groups can turn so -- nasty? People take entire days to bash others, tear apart other authors' writing styles, or make it their life's mission to express their disdain for people who don't go by the rules. I think that's sort of sad. I love your tips, and I think more time taking tips and less time bashing are an excellent idea.

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    1. I think you're so right. And some of the nastiest are those who haven't written much. Thanks so much for stopping by and for connecting. I love your article today on Southern Writer's Suite T blog! Great stuff! Blessings, E

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  7. Funny that I read this post today. I woke up with a new November resolution. NO internet or social media until after 3:00. Eh...I almost made it. I'll keep trying. :)

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  8. Ouch! This is my M.O. every time the seasons get colder . . . Maybe I should be telling this to someone in a long, white coat . . .

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  9. Taking a walk almost always clears out the cobwebs (and the kink in my back), occupies my body so my mind can think, and generates new ideas. The tricky part is remembering the great ideas long enough to get home and put them down on paper :)

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  10. Oh my! I hit a blank page yesterday and had a difficult time moving forward. Now I know what I need to do. Throw up on the page! LOL. Thanks, Edie. Back to #NaNoWriMo I go.

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