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Monday, November 22, 2010

Jumpstart Monday // TRICK writer's procrastination

As my writing stars know, I constantly battle against writer's procrastination (in which writer's block may be lurking). Sometimes I give in and go shopping, but this leads to so much pent up guilt and stress (and fear that I'll miss my deadline) that finally, in an explosion of frantic activity, I'll force myself to write. When I'm done it's such a relief, but surely, there must be a better way?

Well, yes there is. I've learned that procrastination is not always the issue. There are times when you really want to work, but you just don't feel like writing (yet). There's more to the writing process than just putting words to paper, and so I suggest you trick writer's procrastination by doing other writerly things. For example, 

1. Do research. At heart, writers are information junkies. We love to learn about new things, so research can be a lot of fun. If you're researching a topic for your current writing project – the project that's causing all the stress – then technically you're not procrastinating. You're doing necessary work that will uncover information you'll use to develop your content.

I do a lot of my research on the Internet, but novelist Greg Rucka puts me to shame. He dives deeply into the real drama of human beings. His io9 essay, "There's no substitute for getting your hands dirty when you research a story," was a revelation.

Some of the best moments I've ever written have come about because someone, somewhere, blew my preconceptions out of the water and dropped a detail in passing that took the work in an entirely new, entirely unexpected, direction.

As you research your topic and fascinating new information is revealed and synchronicities occur and creativity is sparked, it will feel as if you have no choice but to write.

2. What if you are experiencing a bit of writer's block? Write in longhand – don't type. Sometimes the act of writing in longhand jumpstarts creativity. There's something about the hand-page-pen-brain connection that has the power to trigger ideas and writing. When the ideas are coming faster than your hand can write, then start typing.

Tricking writer's procrastination is all about building an inner momentum so that you can't wait to start writing. It's a psyche job. 

If you have a hard time getting started on Monday, you might want to try these 2 tips, as well as those listed here and here.

If you have other ways to trick writer's procrastination, let me know so I can share with my other writing stars on a future Jumpstart Monday post!

Donna Marie

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