Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Writing Tips: Stop Yer Procrastinating!

I absolutely love to surf the net for writing tips, tools, advice, anything aimed to make my writing better, and anything dealing with other authors and their agents/publishers. I know many of you are like this, and honestly, it isn't a bad thing. We should keep up with the publishing world, even if we're not ready to start submitting, or even if we're already represented. (A good place to start on all of this would be Nathan Bransford's blog.)

He he he. I can't help but laugh every time I see this. It's sooo sad! :-)

One of the biggest lessons I've had to learn as an author is there must be moderation in all things. Yes, this is something taught by basically every person everywhere, but in the writing world, I still forget it occasionally.

And it's no wonder we get distracted: there are many things to keep track of and to master. It's easy to get sucked into our computers and forget to watch the clock.

A post of mine from a while ago (What to Do While Writing) addressed this issue, and in it I mention something Jaime Thelar observed: we use internet resources as a crutch, or as a way to procrastinate our actual writing.

Case in point: I once spent several hours trying to find the perfect name for a character and even the best actor to play him on the big screen. It finally dawned on me I'd been avoiding my writing. But why? Why was I so focused on this character?

I took a long break--probably watched a movie with my mom--then went back to the computer to figure out what was wrong. It came easily then: I'd been trying to find a name for a someone who didn't really belong in the story. I ended up revamping his personality, basically removing who he'd been and replacing him with someone better, getting me excited about writing and ready to forge onward. Problem solved!

Many days I can't allow myself to open the internet, to talk to people, or even sometimes to eat until I've done my writing for the day, since I'll use these as excuses to leave the computer. (I've learned when my body lies to me about it being hungry. :-))

What have you found which works for you? How do you keep yourself from getting sucked into surfing and spending too much precious writing time on researching and self-education?

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  1. So far I haven't! I still get sucked in and spend hours surfing the internet or watching TV...I honestly think it's because I don't feel my writing is any good! Reading these blogs really helps, though, so it's a double-edged sword sometimes.

  2. The best thing for me is to allow myself to take a few minutes every so often to break from writing. Helps me not to procrastinate too much.

    But the internet is definitely the biggest time suck and I have to watch it very carefully.

  3. I'm with Jaime, I haven't either. Like, right this very moment I'm reading blog so I can avoid my WIP because I am stucker than stuck at the moment. Maybe I'll let this post of yours be the kick in the rear I need.


  4. Guilty! I definitely use the internet as a crutch - I tell myself, 'no, I'm researching, I'm learning', but really, I'm just avoiding. And once you start, it's so hard to stop because you're just finding one interesting thing after the other.

  5. I actually haven't found a good way to stop myself yet. Recently I have been reminding myself that no one else is going to do any of this for me and I will never be happy till I finish my novel. I also use my parents failed dreams as a reminder not to fail/procrastinate. I tell myself I deserve success!

    So lets see how psyching myself out goes.

    Good post. I so feel the pain and have much similar.