Tuesday, January 31, 2023

8 Tips to Help Writers Break the Cycle of Procrastination

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I love writing. And I love talking about writing.

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. 

1. 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.

2. Set a reward. I try to avoid food related goals, but truthfully, nothing helps the words flow like the promise of chocolate. However, the promise of a new pair of shoes after turning in a big project also works for me!

3. 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.

4. Turn on the music. For me, music (instrumental—no words) helps me get in the groove.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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?


Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives. Connect with her on her website, through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Featured Image: Photo by Jose Cerrato on Unsplash


  1. All great ideas for dealing with procrastination, Edie. I especially like the idea of a write-in. Sometimes I'm dealing with multiple goals -- one larger, like a book deadline, along with several smaller ones, like blog posts. So I'll start with a blog post or two, which warms me up for working on the novel.

  2. BICHOK - Butt in Chair Hands on Keyboard - now Write!

  3. What is it about women and shoes, right? If I had married rich, there would be a dedicated closet in my home, sigh.... LOL

  4. It's so easy to procrastinate! I have a morning routine that includes checking email, responding to blog posts (!), and scanning social media. Then I sit down and get to work. I have a daily word quota when I'm writing a first draft.

  5. Wonderful tips, my friend. Sometimes I work best late at night, after others in the house have gone to bed. But, I also don't like for the house to be "too quiet." Because then I hear all these noises that sound creepy when I let my imagination run wild! So, I write well when I turn on the television, but I'll find a movie I've watched a dozen times or more, because then I'm not distracted by the plot. I just like the noise in the background. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Very early in the morning works for me. While I study I keep note cards tucked into my Bible and wrote down what God is saying about the passage or a verse that compliments another verse. I do this so I forget to write about it later.

  7. A friend comes every Wednesday afternoon and we write. I lovely scheduled session. Also, I write for 90 minutes in the morning before I look at phones or email.