run a mile
taken a spin class
and folded clothes…
all in the name of procrastination.
Why? Because it was easier to procrastinate then suffer a headache from the blinking cursor on an empty document. I’ve done everything from writing a literary analysis two hours before class to writing 23,000 words in twelve hours for a novel writing class. When it comes to writing, the one thing we hate as writers is coming to the conclusion that we can’t go any further.
I, however, am not the only person who suffers from writer’s block and who has a unique way of handling it. Truman Capote, for example, began his day in bed or a couch where he would set a notebook against his knees as he drank coffee, tea, or sherry. If drinking and lounging all day isn’t your thing, maybe you should take the Jack Kerouac way and write by candlelight, never letting the flame go out until the writing is finished. Or, if sitting at home isn’t your thing, you can always do what Maya Angelou does and check yourself into a hotel with a room equipped with no potential distractions such as TVs or radios and only take with you a legal pad, thesaurus, playing cards and a bottle of wine. If none of those options are satisfying, you can incorporate naps into your routine to help reset the mind much like William Gibson does to help him write. No matter what you do, writer’s block will always find a way back into your life.
There are, however, tips to help with writers block that I found in the article, “Ten Top Tips to End Writer’s Block/Procrastination,” by Dr. Bill Knaus. To avoid a lengthy drawn out paragraph about tips, here are Knaus’s top ten tips with my helpful commentary:
1. Look for your procrastination trigger.
a. Triggers can be cellphones, Facebook, TV, and iTunes.
2. Adopt a reasonable perspective.
a. Like 23,000 words in twelve hours is insane. Try one-month 23,000 words.
3. Prepare to think independently.
a. Think about your work and only your work. Never think about what others will think of your writing.
4. Map your cognitive-emotive-behavioral writing procrastination process.
a. This simply tells you to outline your work and stay on course so procrastination doesn’t creep up on you unexpectedly.
5. Decide when to start, and commit to that time.
a. Stay firm in your decisions and keep with it.
6. To boost your motivations, set up a reward and penalty system.
a. Reward: Publishing your work. Penalty: Failing miserably.
7. Expect inertia and prepare to meet that challenge.
a. When things start to slow down, don’t walk away, keep on writing.
8. Distinguish between ‘can’t’ and ‘won’t’ start.
a. Why can’t you start? Can you start but won’t because you think the project is hard, time-consuming or unpleasant? Be optimistic and anything is possible.
9. Plan for re-write.
a. Even if you hate it (like me), rewriting will only make your work better.
10. Rather than viewing yourself as stuck in a writing procrastination rut, focus on the free-will element of writing.
a. In other words, we’re not procrastinating, we’re just trying to find the right words to use.
When it comes to the art of procrastination, I have it mastered, but when it comes to writer’s block, procrastination just puts fuel on the fire. I’ve thought of many things I can do to help with writer’s block and procrastination, and the only thing I can come up with is taking a nap. Thank you, William Gibson.
Until next time,