5 Ways to Avoid Procrastination

With NaNoWriMo starting soon it’s time to prepare ourselves for the worst. Before editing a novel, before proofreading and making sure you’ve got everything just how you want it, you’ve got to actually write it. It’s hard work, and that’s why writers often find themselves procrastinating, trying desperately to avoid writing those bits they’re not too keen on. We all do it, it’s easy enough to do, but it could mean your novel takes an extra year or two to write, or even never gets written. Here’s a few things we do that keeps us focussed on writing and less on Facebook.

Plan, plan, plan!

When planning your novel, plan each scene separately and on separate notecards. You could even use a different colour notecard for each character that is focussed on. These scenes don’t have to be whole chapters, in fact they’re better if they’re not. They should just be little scenes like what you’d see in a TV show or film, that only make up a few pages.

Once you’ve written them all (and numbered them), give them a shuffle then randomly pick one. The one you pick is then the scene you write in that session. I love this method, because it mixes things up and keeps you on your toes, as well as making sure you know your novel inside out. It also makes those slightly less interesting scenes a little more fun to write.

Buy interesting stationery

This is for you more old fashioned writers out there. If you like to write your first draft by hand, there are some really fun notebooks out there that have a variety of designs so that each page you write on is different. They’re usually colourful designs too. For me, it makes me write until the bottom of the page so I get the excitement of a new design to write on. My favourite of these notebooks can be found here, the design done by Julia Rothman.

A page design from Julia Rothman's work

A page design from Julia Rothman’s notebook

Write backwards

Think of each scene as if it has a beginning, a middle and an end. Then, when you come to write it, write the end first, then the middle, then the beginning. This is sometimes hard to do, then other times it can be easier. Especially try this if you want to figure out how to start a scene; knowing the ending can really help.

Try a new medium

If you always write on the computer, try writing by hand instead, and vice versa. Or you could always go really old school and try using a quill and ink. It takes longer to write but it’s a lot more fun, and they can be found at all English Heritage sights and most Tourist Information shops. Every now and then I like to get my typewriter out – it looks neat and encourages me to think before writing so as not to make a mistake.

Go someplace nice

You’ve probably heard that a lot of writers go to coffee shops to work on their WIPs, and whilst I prefer complete silence I understand the appeal. The clattering of crockery and chatter of a coffee shop could prove to be the perfect background noise to get your brain in gear. You could try anything though; pubs, restaurants, trains, whatever gets you writing.

So there’s just a few ideas on how to help prevent writers block and procrastination. Let us know if any of these help you get writing, and if you have any others let us know below.

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