It’s hard not to think procrastination is hard wired into writerly DNA. As much as I enjoy writing, even I fall victim to finding myself doing anything but sitting down to start. Here are a few ways to put off…or to be precise, procrastinate..procrastinating.

1. The most obvious one is to employ the fine art of willpower. Once planted firmly in the chair, fingers tapping into brain flow and transmitting that through keys to screen, writers’ instinct takes over. Problem solved.

2.  Read a book or watch a movie. Yes, this is actually a form of procrastination, but it’s also a part of the writing life. Immersion into someone else’s deep creativity will often pull a writer on into their own. Whether you’re a fiction writer or a screenwriter, books and movies are interchangeable inspiration. They’re both forms of storytelling that can entertain and inform. When done well enough they can be springboards that bounce you right into your own work. Whether the writing is so good that you learn from it technically or beautifully executed in a way that makes you long to try to match it, experiencing great storytelling can propel you straight from page or screen to your keyboard.

3. Give in briefly to the most seductive siren call known to musekind. The kitchen. Scarf those chips. Savor that chocolate bar. Slurp down a fortifying bowl of ice cream. One serving only. Let your tastebuds have their happy dance, and then waltz them right to your desk. Let that feeling of accomplishment at walking away from the allure of open carton and waiting spoon drive your creativity…into your work in progress…not back to the chocolate chip cookies lurking in the far pantry corner.

4. Stay well clear of what has been charmingly referred to as the idiot box for decades. There are few worse time sucks than a comfortable couch facing a TV. Just a few minutes can turn into a few hours and in extreme cases threaten deep vein thrombosis by going days deep. One episode of Game of Thrones may lead to a binge watching extravaganza to rival Anthony Hopkins’ binge watch of lore, leading to a fan letter to Brian Cranston that went viral. Now, seriously, how much writing can you expect to get done, what with all that watching, thinking, and letter composing?

5. The method that works best for me is pure and simple self bribery. If I’m feeling particularly put offy, I resort to the old carrot on a stick trick. Figuratively. I’m not fond enough of carrots for it to work in that literal a sense, but the promise of chocolate in my near future…after I at least get well started with writing…has a very good chance of spurring me to action. Any of the above and more will have the desired effect, unless I’m so sick I don’t even care about chocolate, new shoes, Odin 2, or King Q.

So the next time your brain wants to avoid what you know you really want to do anyway, pull up this list and outsmart that clever, sneaky procrastination hardwired onto the connection between you and your muse. Next thing you know you’ll be enjoying the warm glow of words safely residing in your hard drive (and several types of backup media), along with your well earned bribe of choice.

Advertisements