For me, writing is kind of like going to the gym. Once you go, you feel amazing, like a goddess or warrior-princess. But psyching yourself up and actually getting there? It’s tough.
Once my butt is in my chair and I’m on a roll, writing is my favorite thing in the world. After I am done for the day, I feel like I could conquer the world. But beforehand, I put off writing like it’s the plague. Enter procrastination.
It probably has something to do with humanity’s innate need to self-sabotage. Another topic for another day.
But there’s a difference between binge-watching your favorite show and working on something productive that actually contributes to your writing or another area in your life. Here’s ten ideas on how you can use your procrastination for the greater good!
WARNING: I am not encouraging you to not write. These methods should only be used sparingly and as a tool to get you back on track. Now go write, damn it!
1. Create a playlist.
Music is a source of inspiration for so many of us, so why not create a specific playlist for your WIP? Use your theme, your character’s wound, their love interest or hobbies and fill your playlist with songs that relate. You can then listen while you write or as a method to psych yourself up beforehand.
2. Make an aesthetic – or five.
Creating visuals to go along with your story is a great way to get inspired – especially for visual learners like me. You can focus on the story as a whole, a specific scene, or even your character. I recently made an aesthetic for each main character in my WIP. Not only was it fun, but it gave me a better sense on each character’s personality and motives.
Not sure where to start? Check out this post from Paper Fury on how to create an aesthetic board and then use Canva.Com to put it all together.
3. Take personality quizzes or fill out character questionnaires.
It counts as progress right? YES. As mentioned above, getting to know your characters – or setting, magic system, etc – is a great way to make progress on your story without actually writing anything. Then when you are ready to get started again, you will have the supporting material you need.
4. Pursue another form of art.
Whether it’s painting, drawing or sculpture, another type of art will spark your creativity and use a different part of your brain. Not artistically inclined? Try a coloring book or even a jigsaw puzzle! You’ll be surprised at how relaxed you will be.
5. Watch a TED talk.
Challenge your mind while still lying around on the couch! These five TED talks are specifically geared toward writers, and you’ll find ample inspiration and education. Want to go one step further? Plus in your headphones and go for a walk while you listen. Fresh air does the soul good.
6. Organize your book shelf.
Take it from me, there is nothing more fun than reorganizing your book shelf. By author name, by genre, by color, it doesn’t matter! Not only will it get you reacquainted with some old favorites, it will make the room that much prettier. And trust me, a pretty, well-organized space makes writing that much easier.
7. Read – but read actively!
We all know that reading is CRUCIAL to being a good writer. While reading for entertainment is all well and good, reading like a writer can really help you hone your craft.
A weird one, I know. But I swear to you that I find inspiration in the most inconvenient of places: driving, working out, showering. Take advantage of these times! We have to be clean too, right? So hop in the shower, soak up all that inspiration and then be ready to rock. And don’t forget your waterproof notepad.
I should make a commission off these based on how often I recommend them. Can someone make that happen? Hello, Amazon?
Going right along with that, I can’t write unless everything around me is clean. That can range from the surfaces to be picked up or a full on deep clean. Plus, no one really likes to clean unless you are Monica – so you can’t be accused of being lazy. It also gets your blood pumping!
10. Make a plan.
I was recently reminded via a Twitter friend the importance of scheduling your writing sessions. Having a plan makes me feel so much better, and having it on the schedule means it’s a non-negotiable part of the day. This may not be for everyone – particularly all your pantsers out there – but try it before you dismiss!
A little bit of procrastinating is good for the soul – especially when it’s used for productive projects like the ones listed above – but too much and you’re just getting off track. We all know that the more often you go to the gym, the more crucial it becomes. Same goes for writing. So next week we’ll discuss how to make writing into a habit so it becomes a built-in part of your day!