Procrastination Domination: Slaying your Inner Sloth
by Alexis Radcliff
You've got a killer story inside of you somewhere. Whether you haven't touched a page yet or you're 80% of the way finished with a novel, you know that somewhere in the murky depths of your subconscious is the makings of something really awesome. You just know it.
If you could only go and write it, right?
Everyone is so busy these days, and it seems like there's always something popping up to distract you from finishing (or starting) that manuscript. Whether it's your job, kids, homework, or chores, it always seems like "later" is the ideal time to start writing. You know you should be writing, but Netflix and your Xbox look awful enticing when you're exhausted, right?
Why is it so easy to get sidetracked and put things off for a tomorrow that might never come? Well, don't worry! It's normal, and it happens to everyone. Fortunately, there are a multitude of ways to handle that annoying little procrastination problem.
1. Set Aside a Small Amount of Time to Write Every Day (30 Minutes)
If you can never get going on writing in the first place, maybe you just need a little more structure. Make a commitment to yourself that the first 30 minutes of every day after you wake up are for writing, and nothing else. This way you're fresh from sleep, you're not too distracted by other chores yet, and it creates a sustainable writing habit that gets you accustomed to dailywordsmithing.
If 30 minutes seems to daunting for your busy life, then start smaller. Ten minutes of writing is better than zero minutes! Who knows? If you start with 10, maybe you'll find your flow and go for the whole 30.
2. Develop Self-Awareness
Most people struggling with procrastination either have difficulty starting a task or get easily distracted while trying to complete it. Both cases have the same pattern: You tell yourself to get going, you feel stressed, and then you feel the urge to do something else in order to blow off steam.
The reprieve reduces the stress for a while, but it also reinforces the thought patterns associated with procrastination. This is bad! You need to recognize that this is a thought pattern you can identify and break out of.
The next time you feel this urge, recognize it for what it is and encourage yourself to push through anyway. The urge will pass, and you'll experience the warm glow of outsmarting your reptilian brain.
3. Keep Yourself Focused by Limiting Distractions
It's much harder to stay focused and on task when easy distractions are at hand. To keep yourself in writing mode (and resist clicking over to Reddit, Twitter, or Facebook), try putting yourself in a room with a closed door and disabling your Wifi or unplugging your ethernet cable while you write.
Another option is to try software like , or Freedom to block distracting websites. Either way, the point is to remove the easy access to things that will knock you off your groove. Make a conscious choice to prioritize your writing. The laundry can wait. Reddit will still be there later. Focus and write!
4. Accept that Your Work Will Have Flaws
Chasing perfection is doomed to failure. If the reason you're avoiding getting to work is that you're afraid your work isn't good enough, then you've got it all backwards. Of course your work won't be good at first! No one's work is great the first time around.
That's why it's so important to roll up your sleeves and dive into it. Don't worry about getting it right. Just get in there and start chipping away. You can always fix problems in edits later (and if you're procrastinating on editing, it's certainly not going to get better by sitting on your hard drive).
Focus on just getting something done, and give yourself permission to create something flawed. Lots of books have huge flaws and end up being awesome anyway!
Don't Give Up!
The most important thing you can do to avoid procrastination is to not lose hope. If you tell yourself you're the kind of person who just can't ever get around to working on your writing, then you won't. You need to believe that you're capable of getting going and finishing it.
Here's a little secret: You totally are capable of that. I hereby give you permission to throw off your procrastination shackles and ditch your inner sloth.
Use these tips, keep at it, and most of all, build a habit of writing every day! Without room to flourish, your sloth will be gone in no time at all.
About the Author:
A VANISHING GLOW is the exciting opening to THE MYSTECH ARCANUM series, a deep and thrilling blend ofsteampunk and flintlock fantasy with mature themes.
It is an Age of Revolution, an Age of Industrialism. Constructs, living men who are as much brass and steel as they are flesh, man the factories and wage the wars of a ruling elite who gorge themselves on the fruits of the common man’s labor. Mystech, a brilliant fusion of magic and machine, gives rise to a new class of privileged inventors and merchants even as the country festers with wounds from decades of internal strife.
Only one man holds the promise of a brighter future: Nole Ryon, the crown prince. When his childhood friend Jason Tern answers his call for aid, the two of them set out to fight for the change their country needs in order to survive, even as shadowy foes frustrate their efforts. But soon, Jason and Nole’s idealistic mission of hope becomes a furious manhunt for a political murderer as the nation balances on the precipice of a country-wide civil war. Can they cut through the threads of intrigue to discover their true enemy before everything is lost?
Sweeping from the ancient cities at the heart of the nation to the dusty edges of the war-torn frontier, A Vanishing Glow tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and assassins, friends and lovers, who come together in a time of epic struggle. Here a brave officer risks everything to win back his estranged father’s respect; a brilliant young engineer attempts to atone for her sins; a war-weary commander tries to pick up the pieces of the life he lost; and a man touched by the gods struggles to prepare a nation for the coming of an ancient evil which only he can see. In the dying light of a once-prosperous society, amid twisting plots, suffering and betrayal, lost love and shattered dreams, all must fight for what they hold dear. Who will taste the fruits of victory and who will lie bloodied on the ground in the light of a vanishing glow?