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Ask the Coach: 10 Ways to Deal with Writer’s Procrastination – On Script Mag

In this month’s “Ask the Coach” article, I’m responding to a question from a reader about managing procrastination.

Dear Jenna, I struggle with procrastination and getting started writing. I want to write, but each day I wrestle with myself to get started. When I do finally get around to writing, I feel so much better. But I hate all the time I’m wasting. What can I do to get myself to work faster?

First, you’re not alone. Many writers struggle with procrastination, if not all, at least at some point in their writing lives.

Procrastination is one of the many ways fear manifests for writers, along with perfectionism, paralysis, self-doubt, negative self-esteem, and more. These are all forms of writing “resistance,” which is an oppositional force artists, writers, creatives, and entrepreneurs face. It works hard to keep us “safe” from taking risks, usually based on past and childhood experiences that have taught us to avoid certain kinds of exposure or self-expression. Procrastination — putting off doing the work — is a way of managing the fear and anxiety we feel.

Unfortunately, procrastination is like a band-aid on top of an infected wound. Because procrastinating doesn’t resolve the underlying anxiety or fear, it simply delays it. If anything, even while procrastinating, we’re still walking around with a (low, sometimes) level of fear and anxiety.

The beautiful thing is that writing is the ultimate cure-all for the fear once we can get ourselves to take the actions and do the work.

In my response, I discuss ten strategies for dealing with procrastination:

  1. Tell yourself you only have to write for X minutes.
  2. Find a deadline or goal for your work.
  3. Reverse-engineer a timeline.
  4. Give yourself permission to start over.
  5. Write early or late.
  6. Focus on showing up.
  7. “Find” writing.
  8. Trust your inner voice.
  9. Focus on how you feel when you’ve written.
  10. Recognize the underlying fear.

When you’re struggling to write, remind yourself how good you feel when you’re engaged with the purely creative act and process of writing, regardless of the outcome or result.

Want the full scoop? Get all the details in the full article on Script Mag:
If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.

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