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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

On Procrastination & Writing

I am a master of procrastination. I am also a writer.

I know – I shouldn’t be admitting this. Not in public. But we’re all friends here, right?

Deadlines are great. I love deadlines. They tell me when to coast and when to panic. They give me an excuse to stay up late, eat junk food and blow off social commitments I shouldn’t have said yes to in the first place. Because of, you know, that deadline.

Procrastination can be rationalized if you try hard enough. It’s a mental break while your mind is working out what you’re doing next in the background, a.k.a. your subconscious. That Netflix binge is research. Writing a blog post or short story for submission is a workout using a different set of creative muscles.

Then again, maybe you’re just putting off until tomorrow what you were supposed to have gotten done yesterday.

But it’s not all bad. As an expert-level procrastinator, I’ve got a few tricks to get past it and I’m willing to share them with you. Because we’ve all got to face those deadlines sometime, right?

1. Disconnect from the Internet
Turn over your phone and the wifi on your laptop. While not foolproof (phone alerts are still an ongoing distraction), this will dissuade you from falling into a Netflix/Facebook/YouTube/Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat etc. vortex of just one click and then I’ll get back to work.

Because it’s never just one click, is it?

2. Leave the house to work
Cafés are great. Bars if you prefer less caffeination and more inebriation to get your writing done. Go where people won’t bug you and there’s enough going on for you to feel like maybe you’re procrastinating when you’re staring off into space for 5 minutes but it’s not 5 hours of binge watching later. And fresh air! Always a good thing.

3. Start Slow
Try paying a bill when it arrives instead of waiting until the day it’s due. Book that dental cleaning appointment instead of delaying until your jaw has swelled to the size of a grapefruit and you need root canal surgery. Get that grant proposal ready a month before the deadline so other people can give you feedback rather than leaving it to 11:59 PM on the day it's due and hoping your internet connection doesn’t drop at that critical moment.

The more you practice, the easier it (should) get. Right?

It’s ok. You’ve got this.

What are your tips and tricks to deal with procrastination? Share them in the comments below.


Beth Dranoff writes the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Suspense Mark of the Moon series, published by CarinaPress / Harlequin and sold through most online booksellers. Currently she’s working on Shifting Loyalties (a.k.a. Mark of the Moon – Book 3). She lives in the Greater Toronto Area with her family, her dog, and more books than she can count. Is it before noon? Then there’s probably a mug of coffee nearby too. Like her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter or drop by her site at


Clare London said...

This is so topical, Beth, when I'm procrastinating about an edit LOL. And the strategies you use are all good. I also find it helps me to write a list of Things To Do, and sometimes I add something I'm just finishing, so I can cross it off straight away, feel smug, and keep it by me as a reminder/encouragement of what "Done!" looks like. Mad, eh?!

Unknown said...

Glad you enjoyed it!

Of course, making a list is a great way to deal with it. Unless, of course, the act of making a list is a procrastination unto itself ... ;-)

Sandy Parks said...

Yes, I need a deadline to get it done. Not so much procrastination, but because I keep working at it until it is perfect...and it never will be.

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