I have probably started 60 "things" in my lifetime - novels, short story collections, poetry collections, essays, even blogs. The one thing all of these have in common is ... they're all about three pages in. And then I hit the brakes, hit save, and move on forever. I am really interested to know from people who have overcome or at least learned to work around and manage this - how do you overcome procrastination? Because mine feels something like writer's block at the same time in that, often the ideas just aren't there to put off writing down. Or i have an old project opened up because it feels like the right time to revisit it, but my head is simultaneously spinning wight thoughts of where to take it and no idea how to start. Few things feel as bad as sitting in front of the computer for over an hour and finally admitting that nothing is going to happen.
How do you deal?
When I start to procrastinate I make lists, If I don't feel like I can write ...... at the moment I grab my " idea' book.
sometimes it's just a statement, a conversation, a description of something, that I don't want to loose, I write it in the
" idea book" then when I start writing I pull out the idea book and fill in the blanks...... sometimes it's just pure procrastination and there is not a cure for that...... Maybe a walk
I read a mention of a software that, apparently, is used by Nick Hornby, Nora Ephron, Dave Eggers, etc. etc. to combat the procrastination demons.
http://macfreedom.com/ (Don't you just love the name, "Freedom?" It asks the question in this little dialogue box "How many minutes of freedom would you like?")
Such a simple concept. Stay away from the internet and write... but ahhh we are so weak in the face of temptation, so it makes it really hard for us, even impossible, during the period we set. (Spoiler: if you reboot you can get back online, but the deterrent is strong).
I might try the free download. Anyone using it?
I did a talk at our local library about writers' block called "How to Gag Your Inner Critic". I think most of the problems with procrastination and writers' block are due to fear of failure (I know mine are). Check out my blog at http://penpaletteheart.wordpress.com/
You might find the suggestions there helpful. I think that your idea of writing from the 100 Theme Challenge list is excellent by the way. Also holding yourself accountable to something (like a blog) is a good plan.
I should be working on my writing right now, but instead, I am sitting here trying to figure out how to get my son to stop putting off doing his school work - and I realize, he has inherited my procrastination gene! He is a master procrastinator! But, I have noticed, like me, he does work well under pressure - so perhaps we procrastinate in order to create a looming deadline and therefore produce our best work!
I think you have hit a nerve here, Vicki. : )
The only thing that has ever worked for me is accountability. Sometimes, it is posting a serial on my site so "people" expect me to post on given days. Other times, it is having a writing partner - someone you tell your accomplishments to, your progress.
I've tried deadlines and goals and they never work. Partially because deadlines and goals generally have metrics that simply don't work for creative ventures. For example, say I didn't do any writing today, but I brainstormed and researched the next two chapters. But that wasn't my goal. My goal was 1000 words per day. I didn't write any. It wouldn't matter that I wrote 10,000 words on Sunday.
I guess a part of it is just being more creative and flexible with your goals. I don't do daily word count goals. Partially because I have a tendency to only write once a week, even if it averages 5-10,000 words on that day or more. I spend most of my time brainstorming and researching so I guess my goals should be less metrics based like: figure out the vampire hunter's motivation and how she'd react to being turned. I think, when I start my next project, I'll set aside weekly and daily goals. The weekly goals will be word counts. The daily goals with be more like to do lists. I'll pick a day to work on a specific problem and fix it. Pick a new problem for each day.
Another website, for getting the home in order, makes Wednesdays the anti-procrastination day. It worked for me for awhile, but then... perhaps one day a week I should plan to write and not procrastinate. Think I'll post this to the group. Thanks for your post. Got me thinking. : )