One of the biggest difficulties as a writer and blogger is consistency. I have trouble putting my butt in chair and just writing. I don’t have writer’s block. In fact; I often have so many writing ideas that I could never possibly write them all. But I still find it hard to be consistent. Early in February I decided to join a new writing challenge. The my 500 words a day challenge. It’s a challenge designed to help you get more disciplined at writing and to help develop your writing skills. I joined this challenge to try to overcome my consistency problem.
And then promptly procrastinated.
For 16 days.
That’s my M.O.
Oh I wrote during those 16 days. I did. I just didn’t write every day. And I certainly didn’t write 500 words each day.
So here I am at day 16 and I am announcing a do over. That’s right! I am starting my 500 words a day challenge again. I am determined to build this daily habit. I refuse to fail!
Below are the seven strategies that I plan to use to combat my natural tendencies to procrastinate. And not just for writing, either! They can be used to combat procrastination for all the projects sitting on my to do list.
Forgive myself for past procrastination.
I need to drop the guilt. I mean, really, what purpose is it serving? The past is gone. There is nothing I can do to change it, but I can learn from it. It’s time to move forward starting here and now, and stop beating myself up over past mistakes.
Focus on the why.
Why did I start this challenge in the first place? Consistency, of course! I want to develop the habits and consistency. With consistency will come better skill. And with better skill comes the possibility of making a living with this writing thing. I love writing. I know I was meant to write and it is intrinsically rewarding.
Create a time specifically for writing.
By determining and scheduling specific writing time, I can eliminate the guilty feelings I experience when I am not doing other things – like housework. I often feel guilty when I am writing. I feel like I am expected to have finished all my other tasks before allowing myself to write. Like it’s a guilty pleasure. Like it should be the reward for finishing my “to do” list. Except my “to do” list is never complete. I need to recognize that writing is also an important task and should be one of the top 3 things I do each day. So yes, planning some writing bursts and blocks of time into my days will help me combat procrastination.
Manage my environment.
My house is filled with distractions. When the Dude or my son are home, I can never seem to focus. I never get anything done when they are around. I get this feeling that maybe I am being judged for not doing other things. More important things (to them). Like housework. So I need to create a space that is just for me. Just for writing. And I will plan my writing time for times when they are not home to distract me.
Remember the fun!
I LOVE WRITING! So why am I procrastinating? I need to recognize the reasons, the triggers, and then eliminate them. I need to remember why I love writing. The thrill I get when I create characters and plots. The excitement of getting the scene just right. That feeling of accomplishment when the story is finished and I love the flow of it. Keeping the fun of it in the forefront of my mind will help me get butt in chair.
I have arranged with a buddy from one of my writing groups, to text each other each day and to hold each other accountable. It can be very motivating to have someone ask you to tell them when you have written your words for the day. I will also be updating on the my 500 words a day Facebook group.
Who doesn’t love a good reward?
While writing is intrinsically rewarding, dangling a proverbial carrot will help to motivate me as well. You know. Like a day off from housework, perhaps.
So today is Day 1 of MY 500 words a day challenge do over. I am off to a fantastic start. Today I have written 787 words. Go Me!
Do you have trouble sitting down to write each day? If so, then this challenge might be for you too.
I’d love to hear from you!Comment below about how you motivate yourself to write each day.