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 solutions1. 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.
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!
That's all for now!