Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Go Teen Writers Book Tour

So, I promised two of my favorite people would be on my blog this week. And yes they are! ^_^ Welcome, Jill Williamson and Stephanie Morrill. Now I'm going to get lost so you can enjoy their awesomeness.



Procrastination is a problem for a lot of writers. We’re artists, and we like to move when the muse prompts us, yes? Here’s a list of what we’ve found helpful for getting ourselves to write on the days we don’t feel like it:

Stephanie’s solutions
1. I learned that my muse likes to show up AFTER I’ve written a couple hundred words. No joke. I’ll feel completely unmotivated to write, but if I make myself do a hundred or two hundred words, I find I can go for another thousand, easy. Try telling yourself that all you have to do is write for the next fifteen minutes solid. At the end of fifteen minutes you can check email or write your blog post, but you have to write at least fifteen minutes. Hopefully like me, you’ll find at the end of that fifteen minutes you’re ready to go for another hour.

2. I had kids! Seriously, this kicked my procrastination habit because I just didn’t have a choice. If I wanted to write, it had to be now when my darling 4 month old had deigned to take a nap. You’ve probably found that with school too. You’ll think you’re going to get so much done during summer vacation … only to find the time fritters itself away, and that you can get just as much done over spring break since it’s a much more condensed time window.

3. I reward myself. In the pre-kid days, I would tell myself, “If I can write 3,000 words before eight-o-clock, then I can watch Veronica Mars.” This works great if you don’t have a DVR.

4. I try to give grace. Some days I mess around more than I should, or I don’t prioritize my time well, so I end up spending twice as long in Photoshop working on website updates, so I didn’t get my chapter written. I can get really down on myself when that happens, but the good things I usually work twice as hard the next day.

Jill’s solutions:
1. Whether or not I have a deadline, I set one. Then I divide my word count by the amount of work days until the deadline, which gives me a word count goal to strive for each day.
2. I plot out my story in advance because it gives me a To Do list of scenes to follow that will get me to the end of the story in a logical way. I also keep my notes and any reference books I’m using beside the computer so that I have everything I’ll need at hand.
3. When I’m stuck, I skip ahead to a scene that’s easier to write. This way I don’t waste my computer time, and I get my daily word count in. I can brainstorm my way through the tough scene later when I’m driving or cleaning or lying in bed.
4. I don’t try to be perfect. My first drafts are terrible, but I know that there will be time to edit later on.
5. I have to get rid of distractions. I try to check my email at the start of each workday, then I close it. Facebook too. If I don’t, I’ll “reward myself” with little visits throughout the day, and those visits are BIG trouble. I also tend to make excuses to get up from the computer that involve an endless sampling of snacks and beverages. So it’s best for me to get a few snacks and fill my water bottle before I start my day. If the phone or doorbell rings during my work hours, I usually don’t answer. I know some writers who like to go sit at Starbucks or the library to get away from the distractions of home when they write. If this helps you, do it. Whatever it takes to get the job done.

We'd love to hear if you have creative ways to bust procrastination!

Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson have written a combined two dozen speculative and contemporary novels for teens. They also blog obsessively at www.goteenwriters.com. When not writing or blogging, they can be found at the teen table at writer's conferences or wherever chocolate is being given away. Come hang out with Stephanie at www.stephaniemorrill.com and Jill at www.jillwilliamson.com.

(Katelyn is now back)

And guess what? They've written a book together! To help teen writers figure out how to turn the first draft nightmare into something you're able to publish. 
And the best part? They've offered a free download of the book! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win.






Now, I'd like to thank Jill and Stephanie for agreeing to come on my blog and posting this great post. And also for giving away a download of their book. It's always fun to have guest bloggers, especially when they're people I admire. 

You'll have until midnight April 1st to enter the giveaway. Please include your email in your comment. The winner will be contacted by email, unless I'm friends with you on Facebook and it's easier to just message you.


That's all for now!

112 comments:

  1. Yes! I struggle a lot with procrastination! One way I found that (I am hoping) will help me to be more consistent, is to make a blog where I post updates on my story. That way if I stop posting for a while my followers can start telling me to get back to it! :) Thank you Jill and Stephanie for sharing your ideas with us! And thank you Katelyn for posting this for all us writers out there!

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    1. I'm always procrastinating. It must be a very common thing in the writer's community.

      Thanks for commenting!

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    2. You're welcome, Evangela! I like your idea of getting your followers to egg you on when you slow down. Encouragement is great fuel.

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  2. I struggle with this a lot too. I'll definitely have to try some of these!

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  3. Procrastination is my biggest enemy. I procrastinate with EVERYTHING, even if it's something I love, because there will always be something I love better. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to procrastinate less. So far it's going okay, but thank you for the tips! :D

    One thing I do is I'll write down everything I need to do today (or this week, or this month, etc.) on individual little slips of paper. Then I'll put it in a box and mix them around. Each day I'll pull out however many slips of paper I think I can do for the day and force myself to do what's on them. If I don't finish what's on them, I don't allow myself to play Minecraft for that day (a new obsession). ;)

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    1. OH, good one! I might have to try that. :D

      Thanks for commenting!

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    2. I make my kids do that with their toys. Then when they come and tell me, "Mom, I'm borreeeeddd!" I say, "Go draw from your jar." And they always find something to do.

      But I love this idea of doing this with a To Do list. Takes the pressure out of choosing what to work on first, and it makes you do some of those things you always leave till last that have been on your To Do list for three years. Ha ha.

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    3. I don't think the words "I'm bored" have ever left my mouth. Or my brother's. Partially because as a homeschooler that's part of a homeschool group, we're constantly seeing friends and doing fun activities like going to the park all day or going bowling. And partially because as a writer, you always have friends to be with. If I get any free time at all during the day, I write.

      Thanks! :D It really does make you do what you need to do.

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    4. Thanks, Katelyn! :D The idea just sort of came to me one day.

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    5. Glad you shared. :D I'll have to buy a jar and make my own thing.

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  4. Yay, great post!
    I'm actually blogging my story (I'm the only one who can read it)
    I'm doing one post a week (more or less), and it has to be at least 500 words.
    But I don't know if this is the best way to work...

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    1. Hey, what works works, right? :D If it works for you, then great! I really need to come up with a system. xD

      Thanks for commenting!

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    2. That's also a great way to get your followers begging for more!

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    3. Yep, but actually, other people can't read my blog (sorry, not the clearest description, but I don't know how to describe that in English at the moment ;)). Maybe I'll make it public when I've got a bit more confidence in my story...;-)

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    4. Oohps...
      I forgot to give my e-mail:
      arende98@gmail.com (in case you can't see that anywhere)

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    5. Thanks, hun! Most people didn't leave their emails, so I'll just comment to you again if your name's chosen. Well, not you, since you just gave your email. xD

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  5. Thanks for the tips! I have something to add to the deadline thing: after I set my word count goal for the day, I break up the day into smaller chunks (usually pre-breakfast, pre-lunch, afternoon, and evening) and set word count goals for each of those. That seems to help a lot with making the final goal seem more manageable.

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  6. I think I'm a bit like Stephanie: the first few hundred words are the hardest things in the world, and then it suddenly gets easy. Time limits are a great way to increase productivity.

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    1. Oh, yes. I'm the same way. If I can stick with it until I reach about 500 words, it'll be easier to just write.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  7. I have so much homework at the moment that it's either write now, or don't write today. And since I'm doing 100 for 100 (that Stephanie started on GTW) I have to write every day. Plus, this way writing feels like procrastinating on doing my homework, which satisfies the procrastinator in me, haha ;)

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    1. :D I know the feeling!

      Thanks for commenting!

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    2. I'm glad the 100 for 100 is helping you, Hannah!

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  8. I have found that if I just take a break and just try to think about what I loved most about my story, then I can kind of dive back into it.

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    1. I do that sometimes, too.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  9. I procrastinate on everything, so writing for me is like procrastinating on homework and procrastinating on homework is procrastinating on writing... xD

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    1. YES. I procrastinate on both. -_- It's . . . awful.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  10. Write Or Die has really helped sometimes in the past. Or simply closing down all internet-related stuff and refusing to touch it until I've reached a set goal. Tumblr is my biggest time thief, so I try not to go there too often!

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    1. Oooh . . . Tumblr. Yes. It kills me. I know I shouldn't waste my time on it, but I do anyway. And I LOVE Write or Die! It's helped me so much in the past!

      Thanks for commenting!

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  11. I get what you mean about one not getting more done just because one has more free time. Being busy actually helps me have more time for writing. Even though that makes no sense. :)

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    1. Oh, and I forgot to mention - having word wars is my #1 way to get over procrastinating. Word wars are the best!

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    2. Yep. Agreed. And Word Wars are the best! I just have to have been writing a while to have a chance to win.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  12. Honestly, my biggest step towards killing procrastination is force. I have to go in and just FORCE myself to write. That means I can't get distracted. I have to stare at my document till I start typing. I'm not one to cut the internet or other stuff completely off. I don't like doing that. I'm a mega multitasker most of the time so it feels wrong to unplug everything that I normally use to multitask with (I have work/business emails to keep up with, for example), but I simply have to force myself to stay at it. And that's how I beat procrastination. Not a very good method, sadly. I need to try something new, most likely.

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    1. Mmm. I've tried cutting myself off, but I don't last a few minutes. You could try looking at everyone's comments here. I've seen tons of good ways to get rid of procrastination. Staring at the document isn't bad, either. :P

      Thanks for commenting!

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    2. I have to force myself too, Kelsey. :-/

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  13. To beat procrastination, I usually tell myself that if I finish the chapter I'm writing, I can then check my email, or get a snack, or talk on the phone, anything I really want to do that keeps me from writing.

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    1. That's a good idea!

      Thanks for commenting!

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  14. I give my self motivation, usually chocolate, or something a long those lines.

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    1. "I write for chocolate." YES. Yes, please.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  15. I read the last scene that I wrote and play the same music that I listened to the last time I wrote.

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    1. Huh, that's a pretty good idea! I'll have to try it next time I force myself to open the document.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  16. To help me stop procrastinating is I tell myself that if I get it done now i wont have to worry about it later.

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    1. Right. :D I do that too.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  17. I love this! My friend and I jokingly call each other our 'procrastination buddy', because we never get anything done when we're together.

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    1. I should call my best friend that. xD We never get anything done when we talk.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  18. I need to work on giving myself deadlines to beat procrastination. It's so easy to put things off until 'later' and then realize how long 'later' really was! o.O

    Thank you for the ideas and tips!

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    1. Oh, yes. "Later" normally means days or weeks for me. -_-

      Thanks for commenting!

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  19. Great post! I have trouble with getting distracted by Facebook, but I'm working to overcome it. :)

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    1. Mmhmm. I have the same problem. Which is silly, since I'm pretty bored while on there, unless a friend is talking to me.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  20. I overcome procrastination by... well, I don't really procrastinate much. But when I do, I try to set a word-count goal and stick to it, as well as using Write or Die. And I give myself chocolate every few hundred words. That always works. Sometimes I get so immersed in writing that I completely forget about the chocolate--imagine that! Yes, it's true.

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    1. Oh, yes. All throughout NaNoWriMo, I kept rewarding myself with Kit-Kats. I actually won that year.

      Thanks for commenting!

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    2. If there's chocolate around, especially Reese's products, I reward myself with that during NaNoWriMo. I love that it's right after Halloween, because if I start getting stuck with my story, I'll push myself forward and use chocolate as my fuel. ;)

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    3. YES. My family buys stores out after Halloween, since all candy is so cheap. And I have my chocolate fix for the month. :D

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    4. Ooh, I should do that this year! ;)

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    5. You should! It's always very delicious.

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  21. I get over my procrastination by telling myself that if I do it now I won't stress out about it later. It works most of the time :)

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  22. Ooooh. Procrastination! I have an almost-routine, so I do all the things that would make me want to procrastinate first. Once I've got nothing left to do, I can write uninterrupted, because there's nothing to procrastinate with. Of course, if I have limited time, this does really work. ;)

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    1. Yes . . . . I have a no-routine kind of thing. I just see everything I have to do for the day and cry. And then I go on Facebook and Tumblr to ignore it. xD *cough* Yep.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  23. Ack, procrastination is such an black hole! I always fall in. I don't like to beat myself up if I don't write when I should, but I do reward myself. With grapes. Delicious. I also reward myself...write a chapter and then you can spend a few minutes on pinterest. ;)

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    1. Hahaha, grapes are awesome! Especially the green ones. And a few minutes on Pinterest? How do you do it? I say, "I'll only check pinterest for a second . . ." and I end up sitting there an hour later. xD Annoying people with a thousand fandom pins and tons of ideas for other characters.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  24. Katelyn, I was so touched to be listed as one of your favorite people :) Thanks for having us on your awesome blog!

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    1. I'm glad to have had y'all here! It's been wonderful. :D Pretty sure this is the most active day on the blog ever.

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  25. If I don't want to do something(like chores or school), I usually end up playing guitar. It takes my mind off of everything and clears my head.

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    1. Playing an instrument helps me too. Which is why I need a bigger room so I can get my piano back.

      Thanks for commenting!

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    2. Yes! Although, most of my family wishes we had a sound proof room for me. :)

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    3. btw, my email is pure4christjesus (at) gmail (dot) com. :)

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    4. Ahaha. Pretty sure they wish the same for me. I BANG on the keys while trying to make my own "music."

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    5. Haha, yup, that sounds like here. I like to try to create new chords. My sis is learning violin...that's been...painful so far.

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    6. Ouch. My aunt used to play violin. It's not pretty when the person is trying to learn it. xD

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  26. Laziness is my biggest evil when it comes to procrastination!! Grr! It's so annoying! >:(

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    1. It is! And I always feel guilty after being lazy.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  28. Thanks for having us on your blog, Katelyn! It was fun! You've got a great group of followers! And I like the rose petals. :-)

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    1. Thank you! I think they're a pretty awesome followers.

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  29. I'm gradually learning to pretend that the internet doesn't exist while I'm trying to write, and to set goals of things I want to do each day. Actually reaching these goals is the next step...

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    1. I hear ya. I can make so many goals, but getting there . . . . Eh, I'll work on that. Later. ;)

      Thanks for commenting!

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  30. I usually do the awards method where I write so many words or edit for a certain amount of time then I let myself do fifteen minutes on Facebook. My email is victoriagtucker@gmail.com. :)

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    1. :D Yeah, the awards method seems to be VERY popular.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  31. I am ALWAYS getting distracted by emails. My friends are always wanting to chat, which is nice, but sometimes I have to make myself say no. :)

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    1. Yeah, it's always hard to say you can't talk, but worth it every now and then.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  32. Me, I have to remind myself to stop writing and check my email!

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  33. The laptop I do most of my writing on does not have internet connection; it's way old. So that's definitely helpful. Besides that, I set a certain time that I need to write and a certain amount of time to write and then force myself to do it.

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    1. That would help. xD I could use a computer without internet for writing.

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    2. It really is gold! Without the internet, I can just concentrate on what I have to do.

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    3. Right. Which is awesome. I must find a way to do this. I will signal-proof my closet or something.

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    4. lol, maybe you could just turn the internet off?

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    5. Can't. My mom uses it for business throughout the day and siblings use it for school.

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    6. can you turn it off on that one computer that you're using, just while you're using it?

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    7. I'm not sure. I'll have to try. :D

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  34. Ugh . . . I think I'm still learning how to get over procrastination. Sometimes just forcing myself to do it works, but that's not an incredibly helpful strategy for others, I don't think. For writing, I've sort of set aside a time each day where I sit down and write.

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    1. Well, just doing it is a good idea. :D And I would love to just have a time to just write.

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  35. I do a word war or something that's creative but not writing.

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  36. Oh, this is not a very good question for me because I'm soooo good at procrastination. I think, if I could sum it up in one word, it would be "NaNoWriMo". :)

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    1. YES. NaNoWriMo is the best procrastination beater. I'm super competitive, so I'll race random people that don't even know me or know that I'm racing them. That helps. xD

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  37. I have a massive problem with procrastination...

    *thinks if there is any tiny piece of advice I can possibly contribute*
    ...
    *still thinking*
    ...
    *STILL thinking*

    Yeah, I have not yet really worked out any ways to tackle my procrastination problem... but what I do do sometimes is to think 'Okay, if I tackle this now, I'm going to love myself tomorrow for having already done it and got it out of the way!' Bit stupid, but still... ;)

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    1. Not stupid at all! I did that last night, with 3 of my fanfictions. I was like, "Yep, if I do it now, I won't have to worry about it tomorrow." It's awesome finishing something and then waking up the next day and realizing you don't have to do it.

      By the way, I LOVE your picture! HUNGER GAMES. ^_^

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  38. Yeah, I have issues with this too. One thing I've been trying to make a habit of is having a set time and place to write every day, and then not wavering from that. It's been pretty hit-or-miss so far, but I feel like it'll be a big help once it happens. Thanks for this post!

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    1. Ha, my bad. Forgot to leave my email, just in case. It's jennab.writer(at)gmail(dot)com...

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    2. :D Yeah, I think that would help in some ways. You'd just really have to stick with it.

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  39. I write in lessons which kinda is procrastination but it's when I get inspiration

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    1. At least you get inspiration from it!

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  40. Tip 3 from Stephanie is what I mostly try to do for myself as well. I'm big on watching movies and series, but I can't record anything where I live, so pushing myself to get the word count in before watching a serie works really well!

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