Overcoming Procrastination by Steph Beth Nickel

Don’t get too excited. This isn’t a step-by-step process to overcome procrastination once and for all. It is, however, a list of things that may help you increasingly gain victory over procrastination, especially in the areas of writing and publishing.

Forgive Yourself

As much as we’d like to, we can’t hop in a time machine, or a Delorean, and go back in time. And because of that, we must forgive ourselves if we truly want to overcome procrastination and move forward. Otherwise, we’ll stay stuck. For the past several years, I’ve set the goal of indie publishing two or more books. To date, I have yet to publish even one. However, if I dwell on that, and how fast each year zooms by, I’ll give up on my goal. That’s not something I’m prepared to do.

Set Achievable Goals

Many of us are great at setting goals. Fewer of us are great at following through on those goals. Now that we’re past the midway point of January 2023, we can likely determine if the goals we’ve set for ourselves this year are too lofty. If that’s the case, we can break down those goals into doable chunks. Remember even the smallest step in the right direction will get us closer to our goals, and that’s true of our writing and publishing goals as well.

Schedule Your Goals

I’m more of a To-Do List person than a Schedule person. While I’m more likely to accomplish certain things, especially those that have been on my list far too long, if I set aside a certain day and time to work on them, I still balk at a schedule that looks the same from one day to the next or one that seems too restrictive. I love the flexibility of working from home and, more or less, taking each day as it comes. Still, there are ways to make a schedule work, even a flexible one. If I want to complete one or two of the manuscripts I have on the go this year, I have to schedule non-negotiable time to work on them.

Create Away from Your Desk

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, highly recommends going on frequent artist dates by yourself. Visit a local art gallery. Spend an afternoon at the library. Go on a hike, camera in hand. (This is one of my favourites.) These activities can serve as times of refreshing, and we may be surprised just how prepared we are to get back to our writing after we’ve taken a breather.

Anne Janzer, the author of The Writer’s Process, relates how our mind continues to work on issues that may stump us if we continue to sit at our computer and try to force the answer to come. Our mind doesn’t stop dealing with the problem, but when we stop trying to do so consciously, we may very well come up with a creative solution to what is keeping us stuck.

Celebrate Even Small Wins

If we only allow ourselves to celebrate when we hit the bestseller list, publish our book, or come to the end of our first draft, we may be too discouraged to continue. Did you write for 15 minutes today? Listen to a skills development podcast? Fire off a query letter? Each of these accomplishments is worth celebrating. Those little wins will keep us moving forward, especially if we celebrate them rather than punishing ourselves for not accomplishing more.

How do you deal with procrastination in the areas of writing and publishing?

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