Writing in any form, whether it’s for a novel, a piece of creative writing, a screenplay, short story, or anything in between, comes with its own set of challenges. Maybe you’re having trouble nailing down the motivation for your main character? Or maybe you’re struggling with dialogue mechanics? But there’s a consistent affliction that affects all writers at one time or another. A horrible creature that lurks at the edges of our minds, sinks it’s claws into our imagination, and crushes our creative will to write. That’s right, I’m talking about procrastination!
At one time or another, we’ve all succumbed to the influence of procrastination. Writing isn’t easy in the first place, but it becomes even harder when you can’t get into a writing groove because the new season of Lucifer just dropped on Netflix, and there’s no way you’re going to miss that. Or maybe your house is suddenly in need of a thorough top to bottom cleaning. The lawn needs mowing. There’s some serious napping to be done! There are always reasons . . . and after a while you may begin to think you’re lazy. But maybe there’s another reason, one that’s firmly rooted in your brain at a biological level!
So there you have it. Your very biology is trying to destroy your writing career! Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to get over this hurdle and get back to hitting that keyboard:
Introducing Andrew’s 4 Methods to Kill Procrastination
Destroy All Distractions – Turn off your Wi-Fi! Put the phone away in your bag. Don’t have the TV on in the background. And find a nice quiet place to work. It sounds simple, but either removing those distractions or removing yourself from the vicinity of the distractions is a good way to focus.
Goal Setting – Set yourself attainable goals. I’m going to write that twice because it’s really important. Set attainable goals! Break your writing goals into bite-sized chunks and be realistic about it. Start small. Write one page a day for a week and see how it goes. If you accomplish it, increase it to two pages a day, and so on.
Rewards - Rewarding yourself is strangely effective when writing. As humans, we generally respond well to positive reinforcement. Don’t eat that cookie until you’ve finished writing that page. If you write for an hour, then you can watch Netflix for an hour. No chocolate (or wine!) until you finish that chapter . . . and so on.
Exercise – I know, I know. ‘Exercise’ and ‘Writer’ are generally not associated and are considered to be a questionable pairing at best. But bear with me. Exercise creates an unusual amount of focus, and once again, science is responsible. Exercise stimulates something called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which encourages the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus. Research shows that the ability to imagine the future and, most importantly, the ability to think creatively is dependent on this region of the brain. Exercise stimulates BDNF, which in turn boosts your creativity. Not sure where to start with exercise? Why not go for a run? #writersruntoo
Hopefully, you’ve found this insightful and helpful as you embark on your writing endeavors. Just remember, the most important part of writing is the ability to sit down and actually write, so mastering how to kick procrastination to the curb is important!
Meet the Author:
Andrew Buckley is a film school-educated writer, which means he’s spent most of his life with no money and a high opinion about bad movies. Sometime around the turn of the century, he attended the Vancouver Film School’s Writing for Film and Television program, graduating with excellence. He pitched and developed several screenplay projects for film and television before turning to his chosen career of novel writing (this was due, in part, to his discovery that ‘professional walrus cleaner’ wasn’t a real profession).
In addition to writing, Andrew speaks to thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students each year about storytelling and writing through the delivery of interactive and engaging workshops and presentations. His novel writing series for teens to adults has received unanimously positive reviews, and he speaks at writing conferences and comic-cons whenever he has the chance.
Andrew is also the co-founder and lead instructor at Wordsmith Academy, is working on several new novels, has a stunning amount of other ideas, and is currently attempting to bend time and space to allow for more hours in the day.
He now lives happily in the Okanagan Valley, BC with one beautiful wife, three kids, two needy dogs, and a multitude of characters that live comfortably inside of his mind.