Christopher Hitchens once said, “Everyone has a book inside them, which is exactly where I think it should, in most cases, remain.”
Is the book that is inside of you threatening to come out? You can use this handy Procrastination Guide for Writers to make sure it stays where it belongs. Or not.
- Set vague goals.
As long as your writing objectives are not clearly defined, any typing you do can count towards meeting them, including email, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as grocery and to-do lists. With luck, you might go months without producing anything substantial.
- Avoid writing new material.
Instead, spend your time obsessing over the stuff you wrote a week, a month, or even a year ago. It matters little whether the old stuff has already been published or not. Just keep reading and re-reading and endlessly editing and re-editing it, until you’re certain it’s perfect.
- Think it through.
Carefully craft every last sentence in your mind before committing words to paper. Avoid the hassle of later revisions altogether by figuring out exactly what it is you wish to communicate and writing it right the first time.
- Finish what you start.
Make sure you complete one project before tackling another. Stalled on one book or blog post idea when inspiration strikes for another? Just ignore it. With a good case of writer’s block, this rule alone can keep you in limbo for months or years at a time.
- Stick to your outline.
Sure, you may already have (and only need) four good points, but if you intended to write five, just sit on the project for a while. That last point will eventually come; if you’ve moved along to something new, you’ll miss it.
This guide is good not only for writers, but for bloggers, as well, so commit it to memory and practice until it becomes second-nature.
But take note: If you ever decide to ditch procrastination in favor of productivity, these five rules will need to be the first to go.