Our Faculty Guest is an Author, Blogger, and Editor of indeed magazine and Pathways Magazine (Walk Thru the Bible) ~ Chris Tiegreen. Click here to read the full bio for Chris Tiegreen.
Chris will join us at the conference, March 27-31, 2015, to review manuscripts, meet with writers, and teach two afternoon workshops. Click here to view the workshop summaries for Breakfast with Your Readers and I Blog, Therefore I Am.
Blogger: Chris Tiegreen
Win the Battle Against Procrastination
Imagine your first dive off the diving board. Scary, wasn’t it? If you’re like most people, you stood there a while and tried to work up the nerve.
People were watching, so backing away wasn’t an option. And standing there longer wasn’t going to make the height any shorter, the water any more inviting, or your nerves any calmer. So why did you stand there? Because you felt emotionally unprepared. And there was a payoff for putting it off. You gained some comfort for the moment by postponing the discomfort of the future.
Procrastinating as a writer can be like that. It’s delaying the inevitable, but somehow the inevitable seems safer later than now. Yes, the writing may be more difficult when the deadline gets tighter, but in the moment you’re not doing it, it isn’t difficult at all.
Every writer knows procrastination well. We all do it. We know we do it. It’s not complicated. No one needs to set up the concept for you. So diving right in, the question isn’t whether you procrastinate as a writer. The question is why you’re doing it and how to get over it. Actually, how you get over it is the only question between those two that really matters. But knowing why you do it can help you overcome it.
So why do you procrastinate in your writing? Very simply, you don’t want to be writing right now. Maybe you don’t have the energy, or perhaps you’re burned out. Maybe you really do need a break, and procrastinating is the only way to get it. Still, if a deadline nears and you don’t have words on a page, that’s a problem.
Here’s where you have to be really honest with yourself and tell yourself some basic truths. And you may have to be persistent with them:
1) Putting this project off will not make it go away. You will have to do it sometime, and no matter how much better “later” looks, it isn’t. Looking back, you’ll be very glad you jumped in when you did.
2) Projects look more overwhelming at the beginning than the do in the middle. And certainly more than they do at the end. The only way not to feel overwhelmed is to start and keep going. There’s no other way to get around it.
3) You want the exhilaration of being done. You can imagine how great it will feel. There’s only one way to get that feeling, and you know what it is. Think of how you’ll feel when it’s over, and use that energy to get going.
4) What you’re writing will help someone. No one would have hired you to do it—or you wouldn’t have come up with the idea for it—if it were pointless. Somewhere, somehow, it’s needed.
Telling yourself those truths—again and again—will help get you started. Why? Because procrastination is an emotional issue, and these truths help defuse negative emotions and put positive ones around your project.
So dive right in. If the beginning seems too difficult, begin with the middle and add an intro later if you need to. Just begin. Because starting is the hardest part, and finishing is the best part. Procrastination doesn’t get you there. Starting does. And that’s not nearly as scary as it seems.
YOUR TURN: Are you battling procrastination? Ever have a problem with it? Have any suggestions to add to Chris’s?